I’m sitting in my studio right now thinking about the passage of time and how unexpected events can change lives so quickly and so completely.
2 p.m. today will mark the one-year anniversary of the EF3 tornado that struck Brookport, Illinois. We all knew bad weather was coming but nobody could anticipate what would happen on that warm Sunday afternoon.
Brookport is a tiny little town. They don’t have a gas station, grocery store, or even a stoplight. But somehow a terrifying force of nature found that little dot on the map and destroyed it, taking the lives of three people with it. A co-worker and good friend of mine lives in Brookport and one year ago I sat in front of the t.v. and watched the storm get closer. I watched as it threatened my town. I ran to the basement of my mother-in-law’s house with my husband and son as we waited for the storm to pass. When we came back upstairs we saw on the news that the storm had skipped over the river and hit Brookport. I immediately panicked, jumped in my car and drove as fast as I could to check on my friend.
I met her about 10 months after I moved down to Kentucky in 2001. She and I have been through a lot of up and downs in our lives together. She is like another mom to me. I had to make sure she was alright. But I couldn’t get into the town. By the time I got there the Sheriff was already blocking the road and restricting entrance into the town. I frantically called, texted, and prayed. Finally I heard from her. She was shaken up and in shock but she, her husband, and son were alright. Their home was thankfully undamaged, but others in her town were not so lucky.
(image courtesy of thesouthern.com)
(image courtesy of cnn.com)
To look at Brookport today you wouldn’t guess that a tornado ripped through there one year ago. Debris has been cleaned up and hauled away. Lots that used to have homes on them now just stand vacant and being reclaimed by nature. The residents are still scarred emotionally, and some of them physically. Today the wound in their heart will have the band-aid ripped off when, at 2 p.m. the bell in the center of town will be rung three times in remembrance of the three lives lost one year ago today. They are healing and one day this day may be able to pass without it hurting as they remember the day that a random Midwest tornado outbreak found their tiny little corner of the world.
Today also marks one week since my church lifted a member up in prayer. We all found out last Monday morning that he had been in a very bad car accident and had to be airlifted to Evansville, Indiana for treatment of his injuries. A couple of hours later the lives of his wife, children, and our church were changed forever as we found out that he did not survive. Quickly everyone rallied around his family to offer comfort and prayer. The congregation came together that night to pray for his family. Saturday his memorial service was held, led by our pastor. In moments of pain and tragedy it’s difficult to think that anything good may ever happen again, but yesterday our pastor told us that during the memorial service on Saturday 8 people prayed to receive Christ into their lives. Even in his death the man that we lost from our church was still helping to shepherd people to Christ. If that is not reason enough to praise Him in the storm I don’t know what is.
(image courtesy of kfrog.cbslocal.com)
Today is truly a day to remember the lives lost a year ago and a week ago, and to be thankful for the lives and souls saved through those tragedies.
Until next time . . .