Saturday, June 12, 2010

Tornado Tonkas

This week I did something I've never done before, not intentionally anyway. I went to help in a disaster situation.

In about 9 hours it will be one week since an F4 tornado hit Lake Township, about a half an hour north of where I live, killing five people in its path of destruction. On Monday morning of this week my church sent an email out to see if anyone wanted to go help in the clean up. I was honestly afraid of how emotional I might get seeing the devastation, but I knew I should go.

That evening I found myself in a corn field west of Millbury, Ohio where an entire house was scattered over about 50 acres. There was no real instruction given. People just came and started putting whatever they found in piles for the wagon crew driving around picking things up for an elderly couple whose home blew violently apart and over them as they huddled and survived in the stairwell. (I know, that's a run on sentence, but it's a good one).

It was more than sobering to pick up the random personal contents of a home. Christmas decorations. Toys. A section of pages from a W-Z encyclopedia. Clothing. Bedding. A porch? Later, the W-Z encyclopedia cover.

After sobering and sad, came interesting, and sometimes funny.

One of the guys from church said, "I found a can labeled 'nails' so be careful. It was empty."

I had to laugh at that!

I found two Tonka trucks 20 feet from one another and just a little banged up. How is that possible? So interesting.

By the end of the evening I felt WAY more blessed to help than I felt I was a blessing to someone else. But I guess that's how it works. It was a beautifully exhausting experience that I couldn't stop talking about when I got home.

The rest of the week though, it felt like I was finding all those nails. While not to be compared to the loss the Lake Township folks have suffered, life just wouldn't let up for me. At one point it felt like the can of nails came at me like I had a huge magnet in me. Obviously, this is not the fun variety of magnetic power, but I had it nonetheless.

When I recovered from the big hit I took time to count the good things and thank God that I am still standing, like the Tonka truck. A little dented but still rolling strong!

(The above photo is taken from the east side of Lake High School/K-12 which is barely visible on the horizon behind the national power grid line, both were ripped through by the tornado.)

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