Luke's Thoughts

Respect the Wind.

I wanted to just write a few thoughts about my time in Albany, Georgia. I was feeling rather unfulfilled in my acts of service towards others since we left home. I felt as if it was all for us, this journey we were on. Although this is a journey of self discovery, it was also to be a time to connect with those along the way and to shine His light, something we are not very good at as a family. 
I feel God has given us a great opportunity to do that a little bit in Albany. With two large tornados in January they were barely making a dent in cleaning up after the first one before the second one hit while we were there. I believe we experienced it the way we did for a reason.
To fully understand that statement you have to know me a little better and my connection to tornados.
Tornados have fascinated me since the mid 90’s when Twister, the movie, hit theatres. I still remember getting free tickets to watch Twister on opening night. Then watching it again the next morning. I think I watched it 5 times by the time the week was done. I just couldn’t get enough.
I had no idea they were that powerful and that beautiful. The way I saw them on screen glamourized them to the point that I wanted very badly to see one and I would hold onto that desire to one day visit middle America to do some “storm chasing”.
Even though the movie had parts of devastation and it was primarily based on that devastation and loss after the storm, I focused on the wonder of it all, the “finger of God”.
My interest never faded much over the past 2 decades. It was always in the back of my mind that I may end up in Tornado Alley during the spring on this journey.
What I didn’t plan for was being in the Winter Tornado Alley during January. I didn’t know about this part of the country and their winter t-storm activity, so when the twister hit near us on that mid- afternoon in January, I was not rushing out to photograph it. I was trying to save my family and my trailer and my truck from being in the path of the storm. I couldn’t care less about the wonder of it all. I just wanted the warnings flashing on my phone and weather radio to be over. I was sick of not having sleep for 2 nights watching the weather maps. I felt vulnerable in a way I never did before. You can’t reason with a storm, and tell it that you don’t have time for this crap on your vacation to Georgia. I just wasn’t ready for my first tornado experience to be like this.
Needless to say, I did not fully “respect the wind”, if you will. I failed to appreciate how unprejudiced the storm can be, that it wasn’t there to be photographed or awed at. It did its thing and people suffered for it as a result. I don’t have to get into the fear, loss of life and property and devastation this kind of tragedy brings to a community, but I can say that I was not ready to be sensitive to that. I always thought my first experience being this close to one would be glamorous – a nice shot for Instagram. In the end I saw the damage that can occur and it inspired me to tap into that part of me that is usually selfish.
Those we served in the clean-up may have thought we were doing something for those affected by the storm, but I felt it was their tragedy that served me more than I could ever serve them. I’m grateful for that opportunity, I just wish it didn’t take a tragedy to bring people together and make me come out of my shell. Here in Albany, the most devastating winter tornado outbreak in recent history did just that.

One skilled chainsaw operator made crosses from broken stumps.
One skilled chainsaw operator made crosses from broken stumps.

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