On Friday, March 2nd, our beautiful state of Kentucky, our beautiful Bluegrass region of the world, suffered terrible loss and devastation when an F3 tornado ripped through the state just after 5pm. All in all that day, seventy-nine tornados blew through. Nearby Indiana had small country towns wiped completely off the map. The videos posted have been heartbreaking, footage of the awesome, terrible power of the tornados have circulated widely by now. There is no way to explain or make sense of it all. My own fear was hitting hard at about 5pm when we knew Lexington was just about to be hit. Eighty-five mile an hour winds briefly tore through the city, large damaging hail fell fast and furious. As I was heading out the door with my five cats, my child and, would you believe, my Irish Bodhran drum, (funny what you think is valuable at such a moment) the hail started. I ended up staying put, I somehow felt certain, and thanks to the excellent play-by-play reporting of our local meteorologist, I knew a tornado would not be hitting my house that day. It's a totally surreal feeling to think for a moment though you might lose everything you own.
After the worst had passed us by, I started to gather a few more items that had meaning for me...pictures, my mother's ring, my bottle Lemoncello (yes, don't laugh) and I suddenly realized I could easily leave it all in a heartbeat and never miss my "stuff". I have become very unattached to "things". They matter not. But as I was musing over what I would carry out with me should another round come through, several towns within the state, many not that far away, were being demolished. Homes, cars, buildings that have stood for a hundred years, lives, loved ones, children, all being thrown around like they were nothing at all. Sobering. We were so lucky. It could have been us, it could have been our city. It could have been my neighbors, my pets, my children. I could have died that day. It was the luck of the draw.
Life will hit you with a wrecking ball sometimes. Figuratively and quite literally. Lives are torn apart on a daily basis. But how do we begin again? After the shock, and sadness, and anger, there comes a moment when you decide. Even amidst unbearable grief, you decide. Do I move forward, or do I give up? But grief needs to be honored. Grief needs a witness. If I could simply sit with each and every one of those who have lost their homes, or loved ones, I would sit and listen. I would let their anguish have a safe haven where it could flow without judgement. We need to hold one another up. And if you have to physically hold someone up, then do it. But let them go through their emotions. Lean into it with them. And if it's you who needs to do this, please, please, don't go through it alone. There are people and invisible forces ready and willing to assist your recovery. I have so often read that people think we need Jesus. What I would say is that people need someone to be Jesus for them...or a Buddha, or a Divine Mother. Whatever people call upon as their faith, whatever it is they reach out to....they need it to be here, now, tangible. Suddenly it doesn't matter who believes what, what nationality you are, what political persuasion you are, what you're sexual orientation is. What matters, (and how I long for the day when this is the normal state of our being, and not just when something terrible happens) is to see people reach out to one another because we are bonded by our humanness, our brokenness, and simply because we are flesh and blood.
In the worst hit community, a week before, a local denomination had made their collective prayer one that they wished to be used somehow for the greater good of their town. It was a noble and humble offering up of one's life. Yesterday their spokesperson said they felt their prayer had been answered. Amidst their horrible loss, they resolved to go out and give their all to help others. Their purpose in their community had been revealed to them. And while I do not personally believe the Universe rains down devastation on us in order to show us what we need to do, I do believe it is within our ability to turn absolutely anything around into a positive.
If your life's devastation has come in the form of a natural disaster...or a divorce, bankruptcy, illness, death, you name it, and you feel as torn apart as these small towns, then make a decision. Use this event in your life as a springboard. Ask for help. Cry out loud till someone listens to you, grieve what needs to be honored. Then start again. A simple "yes" to what is will empower you to create what is possible.
In the spirit of offering up what we have to one another, I ask you all to do what you can. Please help in any way you can. People are hurting everywhere. Your neighbor may be just the one who needs your kindness. Let's not wait until something terrible happens. The time is now.
Until we meet here again....blessings upon your heart.