“Tornado Warning, Check the Weather Radar!” Is Just One of Several Things We Didn’t Expect to Encounter in the Last 48 Hours…
Sometimes we just have those days. I’m sure you know what I’m referring to there… Well, I’d say my husband and I have just experienced a couple of those days. I often jot down notes about life as I experience it in the moment, but occasionally I feel the need to not just jot down notes for myself, but share them. I’ve also been intentional about writing experiences when they’re raw, to process feelings at that time. That said, below is a recap of our last couple of days. And please note a couple of things before we dive in… this may seem like a laundry list of complaints at first, but the intent if you stick with me is to show that what could be received as a list of insurmountable craziness and frustration, can actually be a list of reasons to be grateful, or find hope, etc.
Update on the Last 48 Hours as I Started My Trip to Wizard World Comic Con in St. Louis:
On Tuesday (around 48 hours ago), my heart bled when receiving difficult news and updates on friends and family with very dire situations occurring in their lives. Logically, we know updates like these happen in life, but it never changes the cramping feeling in our stomach and feelings of helplessness that result.
Yet, I thought more deeply about how grateful I am for those people and what blessings and lights they are in the world. I paused and thought a lot about the many wonderful people I know, how grateful I am to have you all in my life and how it is my greatest prayer that no matter the circumstance, the peace of God will fill hearts in times of trial. Despite some hard news coming in and my heart hurting for others, everyone coming together to love each other in facing these hard times helped balance the helplessness with love and hope.
Technology Strikes Again:
My phone forced an update that managed to delete everything right before the big trip, which seemed like cosmic timing. My notes, my apps… you name it, they were wiped away. And yes, I had it all backed up supposedly on the cloud… it is a long story why that was all wiped too. :/ It truly did create big stress for us. It stunk, no pretending it didn’t. But it was interesting to me that it wiped the slate clean in a sense. I cling a lot to this phone (and need it on the road), but as I hurried to jot down what ideas I could remember from all of my writing notes, downloaded the vital apps, and got the phone all set up again, I thought perhaps this was God’s way of telling me which were the most important ideas to focus on? I don’t know for sure, but maybe. And yes, I ‘ll say that annoying phrase… perhaps this built character as I struggled between wanting to be angry with the representative telling me all my content was gone and trying instead to use it as a moment to love and show patience toward that person (who was of course not personally at fault).
Finally, we got on the road, but as we progressed, my husband got sick. For his privacy, I won’t go too much into this part of the last 48 hours, but it has been rough, he has had a lot of pain as we drove, and it has significantly impacted our travelling. It is difficult enough to personally deal with pain or sickness, but it’s harder to see someone you love hurting and uncomfortable. It is even more difficult to look at the situation and try to fathom, “a bright side.” I’ll be honest, I’m not sure what the bright side is of my husband’s illness as we’ve been on the road. Perhaps because he has been sick, it has impacted the timing of where we ended up or what else we encountered on the road. Whatever the case of it all, we kept chugging.
We knew we might face some bad weather on the way, but the sudden tornado warning which forced us to seek shelter in Arabi, GA (near Cordele) was still alarming. I’m still reflecting on the heart-racing and scary (for me and many others… though my husband evidently smirks in the face of impending tornadoes) experience. Hiding in a plantation market store with many windows all around, outside the color of the sky turned to that of night despite it being day, giant hail rained down, and booms sounded around us. Some people began to hide in the bathrooms and pray as we could no longer see much out the windows and the storm was just so loud. We joined others in the safest rooms in the building, wondering how bad it would get. It was a bit of strange experience facing something like that with a group of people we’ve never met.
We emerged from the room all in one piece, not even sure there was actual damage done to the building. But I recognized in my heart… that could so easily have gone either way. We were in the thick of that storm in a bad way and it is reality that we could have breathed our last (my chest was tight from the adrenaline of it the rest of the day). We are so blessed to have walked out unharmed. But, whatever might have resulted of that or what actually did, here are the truths as they sit on my heart… we are not in control of some things (like tornadoes), but we are in control of how we face the storms. Will we choose to love, offer our best, and praise God for the chance to show His love in otherwise potentially chaotic or hopeless times? Whatever painful, terrible, or miraculous result comes of dark times, there is hope and peace in being surrendered to the reality that there is a bigger and more beautiful picture than ourselves. It is hard to convey in just words after such a hair-raising and dark experience the terror of it, but I was truly frightened. It hurt my heart seeing all those people in that store, many seeming so unsure and helpless. But I found encouragement in facing that emergency situation seeing that despite the fear and uncertainty, people banded together to figure out the best precautions to take, people expressed so much love and comfort toward each other.
We are human, we will be scared, some days will seem nearly impossible to fathom we lived them. Sometimes we feel small in a big world. But for me I look back on times like this past 48 hours and marvel at how small my presence is in such a big world and yet how big God’s love is to be able to place peace on my heart despite the chaos. I still don’t know how He does it. I still simultaneously experience grief for others and terror, but yet hope and peace at the same time wrapping around all of it. Honestly on days like these, I pray more heavily than ever that every person can experience true peace. The biggest hurt in my heart most days, is thinking of life for anyone who is living without peace. It is true that in my life personally, I find that peace through God. A part of me cowers to share a post like this, because I never ever want to push my faith on others. Please, please know that. Sharing these experiences isn’t about trying to convince anyone of anything spiritual, it is just expressing life as I experience it from a spiritual perspective. I want to share my heart a little for those who care to know (I have no expectation or pressure for anyone to agree or disagree). It’s a lot like when I tell people how much I love Costco cakes… they are really amazingly yummy to me, so I just want to make sure I share that good news sometimes. =-)
To summarize the list 48 hours, there are certainly many things that fall on the unpleasant side… bad news regarding friends and family situations, disorganization and loss of some important data/writing due to technology issues, husband feeling unwell, terrifying tornado warning experience, printer was out of ink (I hadn’t mentioned that yet, but it was an ordeal too), and many more results of all of those things that have certainly impacted the lives of those we love, our own, and this trip overall. But, there are blessings and love that have poured out, wonderful people we’ve seen and spoken to in regard to these situations, good things happening at work, the reality that we get to see some friends and family while we are on this work trip, and pieces of more personal good news that came to us, etc.
Whoever is reading this, if you are among those who are friends or family that are mentioned in this post who are dealing with life’s storms or are someone that randomly stumbled on this post online, you are so loved. Please remember that you’re not alone, we’re all in this storm together. And whatever the circumstance and wherever you look for healing, I pray with so much persistence that you have peace in your heart.
Stay blessed, stay hopeful, remember you are loved, and I pray you have peace through those days. ♡♡♡♡♡♡
P.S. We finally made it to a hotel last night and feel rejuvenated this morning (my husband is feeling much better today). Next we’ll stop in Nashville and we’ll get to St. Louis for the convention on Friday! We are headed to whatever comes next, excited to see people we love, and work a great convention in St. Louis where we will meet lots more awesome folks…. blessings!