May 15, 2013, I drove home from work watching skies and hearing the emergency broadcast alert warning signal
frequently. When the announcer indicated a severe storm capable of producing large hail in
the area, followed by a forecasted arrival time in Granbury, I glanced at the clock. “Lord,
please let me get home before it hits.” My perspective in a storm began simple. I didn’t want giant hailstones breaking a window while I drove. Ironically, less than a mile from the edge of town, the clouds parted, revealing brilliant sunlight. No worries.
Thankful for a carport to shield me, I gathered belongings and ran to the house, large raindrops pelting down with fury, but no hail—at least, not for a few minutes. I stepped back onto the front porch breathing in the scent of rain and drinking in a sound of plops against the roof. Then the hail arrived—first no bigger than marbles, but growing in size and intensity within seconds. Baseball size chunks of ice hit the ground and bounced back several feet into the air. Intrigued and amazed, I grabbed my camera and shot a few pictures. My daughter in Minnesota would appreciate a snowy yard in contrast to my ice-ball covered one.
Oblivious, even to what my camera lens caught, I enjoyed capturing the unusual. I didn’t know that just a short distance from me, the storm chomped up homes and stole lives as I retreated inside while hailstones jumped onto my porch. The electricity went off. The hail ended, leaving rain pouring from the clouds and wind strong enough to chase it to the middle of my porch. I retreated again and within a minute, sirens began blaring. I peeked out to clouds rolling, churning funneling. My mind whirled. I think that’s a tornado. Much too close. I scurried back inside as my cell phone starting beeping with texts. “Are you ok?” Trying to figure out where the storm went, I flitted through the house and spotted it on the back side, but moving away. I still had no clue about the damage from what they later classified as an E4 tornado. Electricity back on, I watched the images on TV and eventually fell to my knees shaking, weeping and thanking God for watching over me.
The next day I walked about the yard, surveying any damage and found none. Even my grand-daughter’s pool float stood undisturbed on the back deck. My perspective in the storm changed to awed amazement of God’s power and protective hand over me. None of it made sense, and why over 100 homes got damaged or destroyed left questions without answers. Those living in Rancho Brazos most likely didn’t share my perspective on the storm. If I lived there, mine might be slightly different as well. Yet my friend, who now has a heavily damaged, uninhabitable house and wounds on his back, also carries gratitude for his life and his wife coming out unharmed. It’s perspective in a storm and I’ve heard it reiterated many times.
Less than a week later, the storm that tore through Moore, Oklahoma broke my heart as I watched the images on television, realizing the depth of destruction compared to our little town. In spite of deaths there, many also expressed being thankful for life.
I can walk around as oblivious as I was on May 15, although not with ease. I cannot drive into town without seeing the remains of one area where the tornado touched down. I finally drove past Rancho Brazos after about a week. The eeriness hung in the air even though I didn’t slow down or pull into the sub-division. A gaping wound in the land, my throat constricted as I passed, silently praying for those affected most both here and in Oklahoma. None of us in Granbury are left untouched by the storm. I will join others in helping where and however I can in coming days.
I can focus on the bad, the devastation, sorrow and even mean-spirits in some who tried to loot the area. Or I get to look for the good coming out of the storm. Towns come together and help those hit hardest. Neighbors perhaps grow a little less quick to disappear into their homes at the end of the day or on weekends. Finding some degree of gratitude, in spite of circumstances becomes a necessity to move forward.
In any storm, physical, emotional, spiritual or mental, I choose perspective. And when it hides from me, I ask God to show me his. I don’t always get answers, but I do get assurance he is still in control and look for gratitude as my perspective in a storm.