Sunday, June 6, 2010

Glimpses of Power

Photo from here, taken of damage fifteen minutes away...

There are moments that feel grand and important, and moments that leave one feeling very small. On Friday I sat through a tearful graduation ceremony of several seniors that through teaching I have come to appreciate and love. There is such weight to a high school graduation; it has come to be such a mile marker. After graduation, you have become an adult; you gain great responsibility.

There is so much potential for the future, we tell them, the opportunities are endless.

Twenty-four hours later I would find myself huddled in a basement in Michigan with our friends and their children, watching and listening to news broadcasts warning of tornadoes. And while our hours in the basement ended with everyone going to bed, the evening ended very differently for people just fifteen minutes away.

If there is one falsity that modern technology has provided it is the semblance of control. Houses are kept at moderate temperatures--never too hot or cold. Vehicles allow us to travel to locations in any conditions or distance. Computers give us access to any information we find curious. And yet in an instance we realize that there are events so much bigger than we are, disasters that can prevent even the best laid plans, conditions that leave us helplessly waiting in the basement.

This morning we traveled, as planned, to races nearby. Curtis ran the half-marathon with our friend and despite inches of rain and destructive tornadoes the night before, the only delay came as a result of a fallen tree. Thirty minutes later, the race went on.

And life continues as well, for both those affected and unaffected by the natural disaster, pushing forward in spite of any tragic happening. And while this can be at times a devastating reality for those whose lives seem forever changed, it is also a good reminder for those who have experienced a near-miss: sometimes life works out the way we'd like; sometimes it doesn't.

And as much as we'd like to think we are in control, it's not always our choice.


  1. So scary lady! When I saw the news this morning all I could think was that I couldn't imagine dealing with a storm like that! I am so glad you and the family are OK, but you're right - sometimes we just don't have control.

  2. My hometown was hit by a tornado when I was in the 8th grade. Many homes were destroyed but much worse, two of my classmates were killed after each was sucked out of her home. It devastated our community.

    Me, well, throughout the evening, I noticed that the weather was turning eerie and odd and so at 8 pm on that Friday night, I willingly put myself to bed. My mom woke me at 7 am the next morning and told me to get dressed because we needed to go out to what was left of our friends' home and help them walk their fields in search of belongings. I found their wedding album down by the river.

    I'm so happy you're safe and sound because I heart you!