Tornadoes--actually the effects therein--are very distracting. Everything I attempt to do/accomplish is colored by the niggling thought in the back of my mind: A tornado. A tornado ripped right through downtown. A tornado.. I can't concentrate, hence this kind of stream-of-consciousness thinking that has marked these blog posts about the tornado.
I forget that other's lives aren't as affected. I read blogs, twitter updates, facebook statuses, all covering topics from purses to shoes to a good hair day to the critical need for a pedicure to some other fabulous tidbit of useless information that drives the social media of our culture (no criticism just an observation) and sometimes I can't help but think to myself: IT WAS A TORNADO! A TORNADO! DEVASTATION! LOSS! GRIEF! COME BROOD WITH ME! STOP THE INANITY ALREADY!
Is inanity a word?
I don't resent or begrudge anyone's inanity, not really. I am probably a little envious of it. The inane has no relevance when one drives through a stretch of road that is unrecognizable--the same stretch of road one drove three or four times a day before the storm, yet the damage is so extensive that one cannot get her bearings. It's all changed. It's a new normal.
I attended a series of meetings last night in regard to the new normal we are facing as a school system. Three of our five school populations must be housed off site. The logistics entailing such a plan are daunting, to say the least. In that crowded church auditorium, standing room only, I was struck both by a sense of pride in my community and, again, over and over again, a sense of gratitude that the losses we sustained while extensive (did you see those pictures?), are of the kind that can be fixed. No one died. The Lord was merciful to us.
Before and after the meeting, as parents chatted and greeted one other, I could hear snippets of conversations: Any damage your way? Got power yet? Been down East Main Street? Need anything? Our vocabulary has changed, now including words like catastrophe and curfew. This tragedy, as most tragedies do, has marked us as a community. Last night the principal of our high school told us about a group of students from our rival high school (bitter, bitter rival) that not only worked with clean up at our school but raised money that they would like to be used for any senior with an outstanding balance on their account. Stories like that abound.
In my thanksgiving post yesterday, I neglected to mention one other element of this experience that has moved me to gratitude: the prayers and support you my internet friends have given through your comments here, your emails, your twitter DM's, your text messages--all mean more to me than you can know. See, all is not inane in the social media world! :-) Continue to pray for us, for those who lost so much, for those doing clean up, for our teachers and school administrators, for recovery both physical and spiritual. Pray for those of us who are believers, that we would hold out the word of life as we proclaim the good news of the hope we have in Christ!