Here's the view we had when we arrived home from church:
The house that looks like it's trying to hide is ours.
This tree, as you can imagine, has been the source of much conversation at home. We might talk about other things for a while--when will the power be back on? is it okay for Thomas to be in this heat? can he get away with wearing only a diaper? thank goodness we just did laundry!--but our conversation inevitably steers back to the sight just outside our window. How are we going to remove it? Can you believe it fell? Remember the beautiful leaves in the fall? I guess we'll have less to rake. Should we plant another tree? It just barely missed the house.
This last point has been the most crucial detail for us. It just barely missed the house. See for yourself:
The tree crept right up to our front stoop and waited, like Dracula, to be invited in. We, however, are not crazy, and the tree was bound by some law to remain where it is.
When I was younger, I used to love thunderstorms. The sound of the thunder, the smell of the rain, the sight of the lightning--the simultaneous tension and thrill. I knew they were dangerous, but I also felt fully protected, and I was comfortable to live within this paradox. This Sunday, as I witnessed the dark clouds moving forward and the almost horizontal rain from the safety of a restaurant, all I could think was, God, keep our family safe. Keep our house safe. Keep those in the path of this storm safe. And as we slowly approached our neighborhood and saw all of the damage, I dreaded whatever sight might await us at home.
I've mentioned before the oddity that the same event can produce such wildly different reactions. A blizzard for a child means snow day! snow fort! snowball fight! A blizzard when we lived at our apartment meant all-day Agricola fest while the schlubs in maintenance cleared the parking lot. A blizzard for me now means did it do any damage? how much snow do I have to clear? is Thomas really too young to help? And even this storm likely produces wildly different reactions, even among adults. I've heard many complaints about the power being out (and I fully understand them--it's h-o-t for our Midwestern sensibilities). Our power has been out for almost two days, and while it is stifling in our house and its occupants are soggy, and while we haven't been completely immune to hard feelings, I'm just grateful that we have a tree in front of our window instead of through it. But I also know that there are others who were not as fortunate as we were, to be let off with a warning.
For those who still have much work and sweat ahead of them (ourselves included), we pray. And we remember the God of the storm, whose voice is heard in the gentle whisper and yet who lays the rafters of his home in the rainclouds.