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Monday, June 14, 2010

In 30 Seconds, You're Homeless

The sound and force of a freight train plows through your home at 165MPH, levels it and as quickly as it showed up the train leaves. Within seconds your life is changed, your belongings strewn for miles, it's dark, raining and you are homeless. Except it's not a freight train that ripped away your home, it was an F3 tornado.

This is what happened in Millbury, Ohio recently. My girlfriend Sue lives in the neighboring town and the twister roared by a half mile from her home. After viewing the devastating pictures of the damage, I am eternally grateful she and her family are safe. Now it is time to grieve for the dead and help those who were injured or left homeless. Those who were lucky enough to escape the wrath of the twister are left to grapple with an array of emotions: relief, sadness, guilt, grief among others. Tornadoes are especially cruel when weighed against other natural disasters. They are selective on what they destroy. Just view the pictures of Millbury and see. One home is intact and the next door home is flattened to the ground. It is that indiscriminate characteristic of tornadoes that leads to the inevitable question: "Why me?" Is it a matter of luck, fate, God's will? It's none of those, of course. No matter how carefully we craft our lives, plan and organize them, life happens. There is a saying that states "Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans". If the raw power of nature teaches us anything, it is that we do not have complete control over our lives. We are at the mercy of the unknown. Sometimes bad things just happen for no reason, not because of superstition, religion, punishment, karma or whatever other label our subconscious tries to slap on it.

Accepting that the universe is chaotic and at times without rhyme or reason, is a concept I am coming to terms with. There is one word that sums up how to deal with the uncertainty life throws at us: Grace. And that is how the wonderful people of Millbury and surrounding areas are handling this disaster, with grace. To make a donation to the Toledo Red Cross Chapter, click here.