Mother Nature shows off from time to time, reminding us of her power. That mother is something to NOT be messed with ~ she can wreak a lot of havoc in an instant. In the wee hours of the morning of March 3rd, that mother did just that. She rolled through like a freight train, destroying homes, businesses, airports and lives in the process. As of the time of this writing, that mother has claimed twenty-two precious lives. Multiple people remain unaccounted for, so the count could grow.
This was devastating to middle Tennessee. It also felt a little like deja vu. A tornado took a very similar path twenty-two years ago marching through Nashville and leaving a wake of destruction. We rebuilt. We rebuilt again after the flood of 2010, and middle Tennessee is well on its way to rebuilding again immediately, over a fifty mile stretch of tornado ravaged properties.
This tornado came like a thief in the night, while many slept. Personally, I live a tiny bit oblivious, often checking weather only when I’m going to be planning outdoor adventures. So, I woke to the sound of large hail on my windows, and torrential rain and wind. I checked the weather, saw a passing line of red on the radar. And my thought process, was like this;
– OK- it’s nearly over here. Looks like it’s missing my parents, no need to call and wake them.
– Check local HIP facebook page ~ lots of people reporting they’re okay. And that it’s over. It was scary but the storm seems to have has passed.
– Look at the dog, he’s lazing peacefully on his bed, looking at me in bewilderment as if to say ‘why are you awake ..it’s night-night time’.
– Lay back down – oh, wait…now I hear sirens?!! This was NOT just a thunderstorm, but by that point things were calm, it had passed on radar…so I hunker down with the dog for a few minutes anyway. To which he just gives me a heavy sigh, as if saying…..’go to sleep, human’. So, I did.
A few hours later, I woke up to scads of text messages asking if I was okay – some from out of state. Immediately, I scrolled through local news and my heart dropped. First with true, gut-wrenching sadness for those that lost loved ones and homes. Second with relief that I was okay, and third with complete and utter shock for the apathy that I’d taken during the night. Wow, I delivered some self-abuse for that one.
It was a very somber morning. I was off work and had time, but soon a ‘few minutes’ to let everyone know I was okay, turned into long chunks of time to check in with others I knew to be in the path of the devastation. It was all-consuming and I wasn’t even hit. Nashville on March 3rd was about little more than heart breaking images and videos and surveying of damage. And then #nashvillestrong jumped into action.
Watching the coverage and seeing so many posts about where to help, and knowing I was leaving in one day ~ I didn’t get involved. But made myself the vow that I would when I get back from the mountains. And now, as I write this….it’s restoration of faith in humans that fills my soul. Day one aftermath was just surveying damage and containing ongoing dangerous situations. By Day Two, Lowe’s announced free building materials to those with damage and Chik-Fil-A (and others) was passing out free food in the harder hit neighborhoods. By Day 3, I began seeing GoFundMe accounts set up for families who lost everything. And on Day 4 of the aftermath, stories of overcrowding of volunteers surfaced. Read that again ~ overcrowding of volunteers.
Kindness makes me a little weepy, it seems it’s been out of fashion for a while. But each and every time I witness a profound act of kindness, I’m moved to tears, literally. But I cry every time. This week, I’ve shed many. I’m thankful to live in the Volunteer State, where we absolutely do live up to the nickname and where community and kindness have not gone out of fashion, after all.
There’s still a long way to go to return to normalcy, some families will never have the same ‘normal’ again. But there will be a different normal, a kinder memory of the time when life was swept away and an ability to look back on a tragic time with a fondness, all because Nashville was strong.
There are still also needs. This was the most comprehensive list of ways to help I found.
“Carry each other’s burdens and .. you will fulfill the law of Christ” ~ Galatians 6:2