Dark Memories

Seeing all this stuff on the news about the 9 states that had tornadoes last night just makes me want to cry. It reminds me so much of when I went to Alabama in May of 2011 to help clean up after the 4.19.11 tornado that left 180 miles of ruin.

Like a lot of other people, I heard tornado sirens last night.  I was with my grandma and six of my siblings and cousins. We were in the middle of dishing out dinner when I noticed the buzzing and yelled for everyone to go down stairs. when I went through the kitchen with plates and cups in my hands, I looked at the counters and saw the mass of plastic containers sitting at random. My heart thumped in my chest at in that moment so hard I could feel it on my skin. To you, this may sound ridiculous, but if you were apart of the twenty that accompanied me to Alabama, you would understand why. Most you would remember the one ‘house’ we saw. The whole front of the house was ripped off, laying in the front lawn, I assume, since there was piles of rubble laying there. You  could look into the closet and see the clothes still hanging and the weathered coach sitting aloof in the middle of a once-spacious living room. And then to the right of the couch was the kitchen. Sitting on the table, just as they had been left, were plastic containers and pop cans. Nothing had touched them, yet the whole house had no outside walls.

Bama Trip 2011 114

(This isn’t the best picture, but the closet is on the left and you can see the top of the couch on the far right.)

When I saw those containers sitting on the counter, it brought everything back. The instant I saw the destruction, the moments afterward when I still couldn’t speak, meeting the people I did, growing with the people I already knew, seeing the heartache on the victims’ faces, the joy on the other Christian victims at seeing us, the smell of everyone at the end of the week (especially ChadSmile), of finding a tattered and torn Bible amidst the rubble, of hearing the most bizarre stories of some of the survivors, of not ever wanting to leave such a ragged and torn place. It’s in scripted in my heart now, and I know I can never part from such a memory.

Right now, all I want to do is go back.


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