One year ago today

So, I had planned something entirely different for today’s post, but somehow it paled in significance…

On this date one year ago I was hiding in fear in my pantry waiting to be transported to Heaven or deposited into the Land of Oz, depending upon whether or not I was hit by one of the 27 tornadoes that came through our state. We were so blessed to have been spared.  So many were not.

Almost 300 people were killed, and many lost their homes.  One town, Hackleburg, was simply wiped off the map.  So many stories, of terror and loss, and yet… Here we are.

We now have a shelter that some would rather we had “put out back.”   But we are landscaping the little bump in front of our bedroom window, and some day, sooner than my neighbor realizes, that little bump will just disappear into the rest of our plantings and that will be a nice view then.

We have already shared our little Hobbit hole with the neighbors and their children this past month, and although once again nothing serious happened to our little enclave, we were nonetheless grateful to feel safe down under the ground.

I have lived for many years in fear of what if.

  • what if the house burned down
  • what if someone broke in and took all the good stuff (It has happened to us twice in California, BTW)
  • What if we had “The Big ONE,” and the house just fell apart and we didn’t have earthquake insurance to cover it. (California again!)
  • What if we lost all our lovely antiques, passed down through Bob’s family and/or collected by us over the years, what then?  They could never be replaced!
  • What if we went into the Hobbit Hole and came out and our little enclave was wiped out?  Gone!  All our things blown away in the wind and the Munchkins in Oz lay claim to them?

What if it did happen just that way?  (Pick one)   Well, then I would have to say,

“So what?”

The people here in the Bible Belt have so much faith, resolve, and determination.  No matter how bad it was, they picked themselves up, dusted off, and then went next door to see if someone needed their help.  Now, some are still in need, but the job is getting done, homes are being rebuilt, and lives are going on.

Does having faith guarantee that you will never face loss, strife or death?  Of course not!  What it does do is give you the strength to go on, and this is big

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He makes me to lie down in green pastures:

He leads me beside the still waters.

He restores my soul:

He leads me in the paths of righteousness

for his name’s sake

Yes, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,

I will fear no evil: For [you God] are with me;

Your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

You prepared a table before me in the presence of my enemies (even the bad weather!)

You anoint my head with oil;

My cup runs over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,

and I will dwell in the House of the Lord forever.

~*~

~ The 23rd Psalm, as paraphrased by me, from God’s Holy Word ~

What a powerful promise!  So now I realize that if it all burned up, or blew away, or was taken from us, then oh well.   We’d certainly start anew…

and much more simply the next time.

~*~

What do you fear?

~*~

NOTE:  I followed the link to Hackleburg’s Google Map and they have actually updated the photos from space to reflect that the center of town is GONE.  Officially, it is 75 percent gone.  An eerie thought.   My posts from last year can be found here:

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27 responses to “One year ago today

  1. It was a very scary time, this time last year. So many people lost so much and yet, as you said people dusted themselves off and went to work. It was incredible to see how everybody got together and helped one another. I think none of us will ever forget that day…

  2. I don’t know what I’d do if a serious natural disaster hit Melbourne (where I live). I suppose the rest of the nation would band together and help in whatever way they could (as they have done in the past).
    In one way, I find it sad that it takes tragedy for neighbours to help neighbours.
    I’m glad you were spared and have taken the initiative to build a safety shelter – perhaps more people should follow your example.
    Love the Shaker furniture in your photo. Is that your own (or from a Shaker village)?

    • In general, we have found that people here to be very ready, willing and able to do for others in times of need. Of course, last year was such a life changing event, and the people here just rose to the occasion without thinking about themselves. Also, the sales of storm shelters went way up!!! It is tragic that we wait until after such an event to do something to prevent loss of life, but it is human nature I guess. I know we didn’t waste any time getting the shelter AFTER the disaster. Prior to the events on the 27th we kept saying “We’ll get one some day when we have the money…” The furniture is from a picture I found on the internet. It is my dream to one day live clutter free, so if the tornado comes to our house, I will start with a ‘clean slate’ and remain clutter free afterward. ~ L

  3. You’d hate to have something happen, but you can’t keep worrying about it either. Last yer we had tornadoes that flattened a small town west of us, a fire to the south, a hurricane, and an earthquake! It was creepy for sure but I can’t dwell on what ifs either.

    Nancy

  4. What’s so funny is that, when I was growing up, everyone had either a basement or a storm shelter. My grandparents’ shelter doubled as a fruit cellar – it was about twenty feet from the back door. They called it the cave – my grandfather and the boys built it, I suppose. It was a coal mining town, so they would have been practiced in the kind of building I remember – earth and beamed ceilings, with shelves all around the perimeter for the jars of canned fruit and veggies.

    I called it the Mountain. Here’s a pic of the storm cellar behind the house, and here’s one of me on the mountain.

    • Awww! Linda, What a cutie you were! Thank you for sharing your pictures with me, you made me feel heaps better about my choice to put the shelter so close to the house. Why build one if you have to run all the way across your property, only to get there too late? We did have issues with later lines, power lines, septic system, etc. which also made it impossible to put it out back… and after all the hard work we put into making our vegetable gardens and orchard that was not going to be an option either! So we chose up front because the walkway from the front porch was a good stable path to get us in, and get in quick. Seems like the smart thing to do, even if not the most aesthetic. ;)
      ~ L

  5. I got all excited and hit the post button before I added that all of us hope this year’s more peaceful. I certainly wish we had basements and storm cellars here, but it’s just not possible unless you’ve got really big bucks to deal with the water table. Even then, money doesn’t always make a difference – there are some “things” money can’t buy, and a basement on the coast is one!

    • Hi Patti! It is right in front of the master bedroom window, which is in front of the house. I promised Julie to take a picture and post it. ;)

      And yes, the year since the disaster has just flown by!
      ~ L

    • Tom, it is all relative. I grumble and complain whenever the weather hampers my garden or travel plans. Too cold, too hot, or too wet will quickly stop me from those tasks, and it is a disappointment.

      So we’re bound to grumble, but we’ll get over it. ;)
      ~ L

  6. I can’t really imagine what it feels like to be in a tornado threat, I’ve been in a couple of tail ends of hurricanes in Florida and the Caribbean before, but Tornadoes, well yes the idea alone scares the heck out of me! But as you say we have the ability to rebuild our lives, literally. And fear can stop us doing many things. A thoughtful post, thank you. Claire

    • We have so much new technology to help us in tracking the storms now. I remember being stationed in Pensacola, Florida and having tornadoes come through a few times there. At that time they would give us a general weather statement that tornadoes were possible, but there was really no way to know when or exactly where. The science is still far from perfect, but seriously more comforting than a general warning. We also have weather radios to go off day or night and get us headed for shelter too. We all fear what we do not know. The people here are absolutely terrified of the thought of an earthquake. Gotta say, in California we took anything under a 6 in stride. Yup, it’s all in what you’re used to, but being prepared is a powerful comfort in times of trouble. ~ L
      ~ L

  7. I cannot imagine living with that kid of fear, how awful for you and well done creating your own bunker.. and i totally agree about just going simple next time. I arrived here 6 years ago with 2 suitcases and it is so much easier to have less to lose. c

    • Two thoughts Celi…
      For the months of February and March this year I was living in dread of April because it is the traditional tornado season here in “Tornado Ally.” This year April has been so benign that one could almost forget that last April ever occurred. Almost… Traveling in any direction will bring it all back again as there are still areas where the land is scoured of trees. It will take many years for the land to return to the lush green woods it once was. The homes and cityscapes will be rebuilt much faster.
      SIDE STORY: We had visitors in October and we ended up in Tuscumbia looking for a BBQ place… My friend’s phone app showed where it should be but it was gone. A half mile ribbon of destruction right through the middle of town took it, and everything else with it. It would have been about 200 feet to the right of the gas station you see at the end of this film.
      The student who filmed it was audibly upset, and his only words through the film are, “Oh my God.”

      The film is here, should you or any be able to watch it. http://youtu.be/5ohIVzIZLuQ
      ~~~~~
      Ultimately, we have way more than we could ever need, but it is hard to let go. Our house has three bedrooms and an office and until last year I could not find the floor in any of the spare rooms. It feels good to let go of it. Should a storm or mayhem take the rest, then we will breathe deep and feel blessed to be alive. ~ L

  8. Tornadoes are so scary! I cannot imagine having to endure 27 of them. Most people are so resilient! Life is what it is and you just have to pick up the pieces sometimes and start all over again. You’ll have to show us pictures of your new safe place! Aren’t neighbors funny? Bet they won’t mind one bit during the next tornado if they have to snuggle safely in there with your family.

    What are my fears? Hmmm…I think I like to know how everything is going to happen. I like to plan for plans. LOL Which of course, is impossible. My daily prayers include asking God to remind me and show me in the details that He is in charge of my life, not me. He has the reins and it’s my job to sit back and enjoy the ride, wherever it may take me. Trust.

    Have a lovely day! ~ April

    • April, thanks for visiting! BTW, my husband, like you, has the planning gene. I never discovered it until we got married and went on our delayed honeymoon/first vacation. It is a story that needs proper telling and photographs… I will save it for another addition to my “Once Upon a Time in the West” entries. :) And thank you, you have a lovely day as well! ~ L

  9. Wow – what a scary history. Your planning sounds great and your attitude to it being insufficient quite commendable! At the end of the day, you have to approach life like that as there’s nothing you can do when mother nature has a hissy.

  10. We have not yet put a shelter in out here. It’s on the “to do” list. Two years ago this town was hit by a small F2 in the night. It was a backwards tornado so no one expected it. Forrest’s workplace was hit pretty badly causing millions in loss (an power generation facility and headquarters). Several neighborhoods were wiped out, but miraculously, no one was killed. I have always just prayed when the sirens go off. We really have no where to go here. Not many people have shelters, oddly.

    • We mostly fear what we do not know. I am fine with earthquakes, having come from California, but tornadoes turn me to jelly! I am glad that no one was hurt there! ~ L

  11. Yes we grow in understanding faith. This truly inspires, particularly, for me, that to live in deep faith means not anxiety about the ‘what if’. Life is not a smooth ride no matter one’s religious/spiritual denomination. Big Smiles

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