Wisconsin has had some rough weather in recent weeks. Our dry summer caused many of us to pray for rain. The rain came and then the storms.
We were just sitting down to eat supper when we heard there was a tornado warning. Since it didn’t look that bad we quickly ate. Soon our lights started flickering and went out. When we noticed the rain going sideways outside our window we hurried to the basement. About 30 minutes later we came up to peek outside. We noticed one tree down and then another.
We were feeling bad until we started seeing other people’s damage.
My sister and her husband lost the roof to their barn and a huge maple in the front yard. My brother-in-law spent the hours after the storm trying to remove the branches that were covering the road. The sheriff saw and stopped to help.
Another friend had a big tree come down next to their house, knocking the glass out of one of their windows, while another tree took out part of their shed.
One of our neighbors down the road lost 18 big trees.
In our little town there were big trees across the road in several places. Many of the trees took out power lines. We were without electricity for two days. (Small towns aren’t a priority.)
Another friend who lives 30 miles away had the electrical box ripped out of their house while they huddled in their basement. Every tree in their yard was damaged or knocked over. They were without electricity for almost a week.
What surprised me through all of this was how much interaction was going on. We were all talking to our neighbors. We were going out of our way to check on each other. Those with chain saws were walking down the street to see how they could help. Those with big machinery were lifting heavy trees out of the way. Local churches were providing water and hot meals.
We saw grace played out. The first grace was that in all the destruction and close calls, no one was hurt. Some garages, barns and trees were lost, but no loss of life. The second grace was seeing people in action helping one another. We are usually too busy to stop and chat. The storm gave us an opportunity to check in with each other. We tended to the important things and put our regular routines on hold. So while I don’t pray for storms to come, I pray that I can learn from them.
Learn to see my neighbors…to remember to check on my friends…to be thankful for the calm…to see God’s grace in the midst of it all.