Monday, March 5, 2012

“Thirty-nine Die in Tornadoes.” How familiar the headlines. So where is your shelter? And ours…

We were standing watching the black clouds. It was a Sunday afternoon; we were at our aunt’s house in West Texas – flat West Texas in the spring time storm season. We were by the door, already opened, to the storm cellar. It was that time when cellars were dug, the sides with shelves to store food, the wide middle to huddle in when a cyclone might be expected. The darkened clouds began to turn green; everybody edged closer to the door. Fortunately for us – and bad for a town not too far away – we did not see that black funnel form and dip. Most of our readers will have been there, too, in  one way or another. If you haven't: just be patient...

Annelie and I have also done it: planned “just in case,” as we are all instructed to do. When the sirens wail, we will go to the end of the hall on the east side of the house. It is as far away from a glass window as we can get, a single bed mattress readily to hand, more than one door available as an exit to the outside. It is the best we can do.

I expect that our American proverb, “there are no atheists in foxholes,” has a similar saying in every language, every culture. Probably you know the drill all to well yourself, it begins, “O God…” The tone of voice is unmistakable In any language.

(OK, fellows, I admit it. My wife agrees with me in principle. Honest. But there is more. She is a survivor. When she goes out the door, lugging that purse of hers, if a man dared dump it out, there probably would be a needle and thread, a first aid kit, a bar of soap and a half pound of dried beans...)

We all do need our preparations, and not just where we can quickly get blankets or a mattress to cover us. I will share something else with you: I am going to take a long acquaintance with the Apostle Paul with me; “O death, where is thy sting,” is just part of what he had to say, but it will do in a huddle in a far corner. What are you going to take?

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