I’m not sure why I am writing this particular post today. I suppose the biggest reason is because of all the destruction that I have seen in the last week, not just in my own backyard, but across the state and across the country. I felt the urge to reflect upon this past week and to count my blessings. If it starts to ramble, please accept my apologies in advance. I strained my back over the weekend cleaning up our share of these destructive storms and am currently under the influence of pain medication.
I spent a wonderful week in Missouri at the beginning of the month, visiting my parents and working on the first rewrite of my book. The last night I was there, a thunder and lightning storm woke me up at 3 am. Since I could not go back to sleep, I left for home a bit earlier than I had planned on Saturday, April 9th.
Living in Texas, storms & tornadoes are something you just expect. Like everyone else, I watch the news and see the destruction from such storms happen everywhere else, but never at my own home. The day after I returned home, I woke up at 1:40 a.m. to strong winds and pouring rain. I heard a metallic scratching sound coming from the back of the house. My first thought was our sliding screen door that refused to stay on track, but it was still in place. I put my hand on the glass door and I swear I could feel it breathing. It was moving under my palm. My husband didn’t seem too worried because he went back to bed. But I knew something wasn’t right because the front bedroom door, which was closed, started rattling. No satellite signal meant we couldn’t check the weather on TV, and my sweet husband, who had so lovingly cleaned the house before I got home, put the weather radio somewhere and couldn’t remember where (I did find it two days later in a cabinet).
The sound a person never wants to hear went off near our house: tornado sirens. I grabbed my wallet, which had all the important things in it, such as insurance cards and money, the car keys, and hustled husband and son into the pantry (I later realized that while this is an interior room with no windows, it does have the washer and dryer plus a lot of canned goods, so not the ideal place to hide). My husband was able to keep an eye on the weather on his iPhone. The sirens stopped and started one more time that night. It was all over by 2:30 a.m.
School was delayed the next morning because several campuses were without power. But at 6:45 a.m., I was outside checking for damage, not truly believing I would find any. We had had other storms before and come through unscathed. But not this time. Our air conditioner was blown off its pad, resting upright on the grass. Unbelievably, it was still working! Our side fence had been pulled forward, then pushed back, barely hanging on, but still intact. One section of fence had been blown down, while the sections on either side of that were leaning precariously into the yard. My first thought was “Wow.” Our family had become a storm statistic.
Driving around the neighborhood and through town, I realized we had gotten off lightly. All over town, beautiful trees, the first signs of spring blooming on their branches, were blown over. Familiar restaurant signs were scattered all over parking lots and into the streets. But this city was lucky: no one was injured or killed.
Three days later, on Thursday night, a tornado hit the town of Tushka, Oklahoma. I was shocked. I had just driven through there the previous Saturday on my way home, and now it was in ruins. Friday night, we had another windstorm: the side fence fell down, and we lost another section of the back yard fence. We watched the news as the storms that hit Oklahoma move across the country, shaking our heads at the devastation left in its wake.
There are wildfires moving closer to the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, which is to the north of where we live. Am I worried it could shift to the south? Yes. Am I concerned that we could lose our home? Yes. But this house is just a materialistic thing. My family is the most important thing I have. All the wind and all the fire in the world could take everything I own, but as long as I have my husband, my son, my parents and my many friends, I have all the blessings I need in my life. I guess I am basically saying ‘count your blessings’. Do it now. Don’t wait for 80 mph straight line winds to blow down your fence and rearrange your air conditioner. Realize that your greatest treasures are the people who are in your life, not the roof over your head, the car you drive, or the fancy phones/TVs/gadgets you have.