Somewhere deep inside this maternal core, whilst watching a movie with my children, an alarm bell went off. My concentration had been disrupted by the wind outside. It seemed to come in waves, blowing powerfully one minute, and eerily quiet the next. Much to the dismay of my kids, I told them to turn to the local weather station, and there before me was the news. One huge tornado had ripped through Raleigh and another was aiming for Smithfield as we watched. We were like sitting ducks. Our town, Clayton, was literally in the middle of the two paths. I quickly moved blankets, torches and chips (yes chips and don’t ask me why because I don’t know) into the internal bathroom, scooped up my temporarily wheelchair bound daughter from the sofa and pushed my son head first into the room. It was panic; I was new to this tornado preparation stuff. We sat waiting but nothing happened, luckily we were safe, but my heart is still heavy. Many people lost their lives and loved ones that day, homes were destroyed, and possessions chewed up like pieces of candy. Amazing stories of survival are all around. Today, for instance, I listened to a news broadcast about a group of people who were stuck in a church after celebrating a child’s first birthday. They had remained to clear up and did not realize what was about to happen. Miraculously, the only part of the church left untouched was the corridor in which they were huddled. Now to me that is divine intervention!
The question remains though, what can we do to help? It seems only a few weeks ago I was writing about the earthquake in Japan, asking for your prayers and aid where possible. Ironically, here I am this time in North Carolina, again asking you to do the same. I know many people who have volunteered to go and help with the clean up, but the people need so much more. I urge you to go onto the local news channels and seek out ways to donate and help. There are families out there that have lost everything, including loved ones; they need to know the community is behind them. On Sunday, whilst we celebrate Easter, please don’t forget to say a prayer for the victims of this local disaster, I know I will be.