Monday night's storms have me thinking a lot about how how quickly circumstances can change, what I value most in life and why I need to show the people I love how much they mean to me EVERY DAY.
Sitting huddled with my little family on the floor of a bathroom the size of a broom closet while the wind was rattling the windows scared me. It scared me a lot.
Yesterday was a wonderful day for me and Michael. We had nothing we had to do, and nowhere we had to be. We ran a few errands, went out to lunch and enjoyed our time as a family. We gave Michael Francis a bath, put him to bed, ate our dinner and watched tv.
It was a lovely day and a boring evening.
It changed in an instant.
When our phones started screeching and the the tornado sirens started blaring we sprang into action. Michael sprinted up the stairs and snatched Michael Francis out of his crib. I grabbed blankets, our phones, and a jug of water. We squished into the tiny bathroom; hearts pounding, minds racing, adrenaline pumping; both of us trying to calm our son while worrying about keeping him safe. We were scared.
I spent years as a general assignment reporter chasing severe weather all over Iowa, and reporting on the destruction it caused. I was scared on a few occasions, but mostly awestruck.
The power and randomness of these storms is incredible. One building can be ripped apart and another a few feet away will remain untouched. I've seen an entire home destroyed with something as fragile as a photo sitting in its original spot, unscathed. Some cars on a lot might be smashed to pieces by hail while others don't suffer so much as a ding.
Of course when storms hit property, they also hit people. I've interviewed some who've laughed while standing in what used to be their living room, and others who've broken down and sobbed silently while talking about what they survived. Some people were stunned and incapacitated, others were shocked but incapable of sitting still...picking up everything from siding to broken dishes while we talked to them. Some of them hadn't just lost things, they'd lost loved ones. It was heartbreaking.
It's a lot like life, right?
Some people seem to float through it effortlessly. Others experience one bad thing after another. Some are knocked down easily and stay down. Others get up again, and again and again. Sometimes the person who's always appeared indestructible is suddenly battered and beaten. Sometimes the one who's always been fragile rises up with a strength that surprises everyone.
We all react to "storms" differently and sometimes our reactions will vary wildly depending on what kind of storm it is, when it's happening and who or what it affects.
What we do during the calm can vary just as much, and is just as significant.