On June 26, 1973 I awoke from a short afternoon nap with a sense of foreboding and noticed some very dark skies. Looking out the west windows I could tell we were in for a big storm. There were writhing tails hanging from the clouds on the horizon and, as would be expected, I could hear thunder in the distance.
It was time to close the windows and prepare for the possibility of no electricity. When one lives in the country, storms often cause power outages. This storm had the potential of being a doozy. Pounding, heavy rain began to batter the roof and water began to pour over the entry door. I heard what sounded like a jet plane. The house began to shake. My glass cat collection started sliding off the shelves and shattering on the floor. I had a sudden sense of being lifted up. Then nothing.
I must have passed out because I remember waking up and wondering what was going on. Where was I? It seemed that nothing was where it should be. Finally, I began to make sense of my surroundings. I needed to get out! I had to get out! Seeing the window that used to be above the kitchen sink I, somehow, found a way to get through the debris. I pulled and pushed on the frame, cutting my hand in the process, to get it open enough to crawl out.
I didn’t even look back but ran across the street to the neighbor’s and began pounding on the door. No one was answering. I felt like the last person on earth. Where were they?
I began running down the street and discovered a truck parked beside the small grocery store. I knew they weren’t open but maybe they had left the keys in the ignition. I got in to at least get out of the rain. Lo and behold, the keys were there. I had never driven a standard transmission vehicle of any kind up to that point but I had watched my dad many times. I started it, put it in second gear, (I didn’t realize it should be in first. In fact, I’m not sure at that point I even cared about doing it right.) stepped on the gas and got out of there.
Upon reaching the truck owner’s house I tried to explain what had happened. The house was upside-down, electricity was arcing and sparking from the exposed wires, gas might be leaking, and from that point they took over. The fire department was called and an ambulance took me to the hospital. I had one cut on my hand from pulling the window open and many, many bruises that would continue to appear over many weeks.
I would remember this day for the rest of my life. Although PTSD plagued me for many years, I was able, with enough counseling and support from family and friends, to overcome and move on.
You might ask, where was God in all this? Why would He let something like this happen? First of all, without question, He was with me all through this. He was holding me as the house was turned up-side-down. I remember feeling cottony softness all around me. His presence was as physical as the sensation of falling.
God does not desert us in the hard times of life. Why would He let this happen? My response to this question is this, He created nature and all that is part of it, including tornados. He knew and still knows every event that will happen on earth. Neither you nor I are exempt from the natural order of things. It’s all part of His story playing out through us. He does not forget us!
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10
Blessings to you and yours!
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