I’ve put off writing this post for days. The words are just not there. I don’t believe they exist – it’s a visual not an audible language that I want to communicate. It’s a gasp of disbelief and the hard swallow that comes just before the tears. It’s the emotion of what has happened to so many. It's the disbelief that hundreds are dead and many are still missing. No words can describe what happened.
The tornadoes that struck Alabama (along with many of our sister states) have left marks on the land that will never recover. Certainly, we we remove, rebuild and move on,but recover? No, we are forever marked – the land and the hearts of the people.
After four days of paralyzing frustration and guilt, I’ve found ways to serve. We (hubs and me) have delivered supplies to North Alabama, Cordova area, Cullman, and Blountsville – we’ve seen some damage. I struggle to wrap words around it, but I will try for those of you who are not in this disaster zone.
I know you’ve seen pictures and so had I, but pictures cannot capture the staggering reality of the force of these storms. A path two city blocks wide and as far a the eye can see looks as if it’s been bomb was dropped on it. There is nothing standing. No houses, no buildings, no power poles, nothing – not one thing. It’s a wasteland littered with sticks and blocks and stuff. And that stuff is the fabric of the lives of the people who lived here. It’s clothing, toys, and appliances. It’s furniture, flooring, and walls. It’s roofing, windows, and bricks. It’s pictures, letters, and personal items. It’s everything that makes up your home today – torn up, spun around and flung down with a force that defies description.
Then you look a bit closer and you see steel girders coiled like hair ribbons. Full size cars tossed as if they were toys in the hands of a rough playing preschooler. And the small things – a blue bowl, a tiny stuffed bunny, a remnant of fabric – a shirt? a dress? a sheet?
These images are burned in my mind and my heart – this isn’t just a disaster zone, these are people’s lives. I’ve not taken one picture. I can’t. It just feels wrong.
I understand the need to document the damage and I appreciate the professionals who are doing so, but I don’t believe this is a photo op for the masses. These are people lives, their homes, and their stuff – I know I wouldn’t want people taking pictures of my tragedy.
As I’ve traveled through these places, I’ve prayed that God would show His glory and He has. Oh, my at the outpouring of love and support from the community, the state, and across the country. We are so blessed to have the help of so many. Twitter and Facebook have become the places to find the needs and meet them.
If you want to help
Alabama possible A great collection of ways to help.
Facebook page of James Spann (local meteorologist & super star who saved so many lives with his incredible reporting)
Pray – pray for the people impacted by the tornadoes. Pray for God to show Himself Mighty (as He is mightier than any tornado!!) Pray for God to be glorified in every work done in His name!! Pray that each person serving will be forever changed by this experience. Pray for God to show each person where to serve and how to serve. Pray for peace in the recovery.
I trust that God has an amazing plan for this time – the worst tornado disaster in history. I pray that I will be faithful to His call in this time.
We are Alabama and we are God’s children – we will PRAISE HIM in the STORM!