There are thunderstorms in Oklahoma this evening. They have been here on and off for a few days. I saw more lightning in the sky the other evening than I have seen in a long time. It looked like God was putting on a firework show. It rained and rained and the wind blew, but we were no worse for the storm. Not all storms are like this in Oklahoma. With many Oklahoma storms come tornadoes and severe damage.
I remember the big tornado that hit south of Oklahoma City in May of 1999. It was categorized as a F5, which is only one step below the worst classification. The winds in a F5 blow 261 – 318 miles per hour. It was nearly a mile wide. It devastated much in south Oklahoma City and surrounding communities. I was saddened by the loss of life that happened that day and grateful that none of the ones I loved were in the path of the storm. They almost were, but not quite.
Marixa and I had been married for four months at the time. My mom and dad were coming up to the city to see us from southeast Oklahoma. I remember they called me and asked if they needed to pick up dinner, or if we were going to eat when they arrived. Marixa and I had just finished, so they decided to stop for a bite to eat. Turns out that was a very good thing. When they got to the city my dad told me they were about five minutes south of the tornado when it hit. They might have been in the middle of all of it had they come north a little quicker. I am glad they stopped to eat.
I knew others who barely missed having their homes destroyed. Some who were not as fortunate. The wind blew harder that day than it has on any day since in Oklahoma. I am amazed at the strength and resolve of my friends and neighbors. They took an awful shot from the weather, but did not fold. The city drew together. People helped each other. The community healed. You drive through the affected areas and you might never know what had occurred there 12 years previous.
What do you do when the wind blows? There are times in life where we are tossed and thrown and don’t know if we will ever see safety again. Do you go the storm alone? Or do you pull together and weather it? In many cases the aftermath of the storm is devestating, but you can weather it. It may take time, but things can and will get better.