It's been a long time since I can remember a storm... This evening I happened to be down in the basement during a workout. The clouds turned an ominous yellow, as if there was a far off fire in an adjacent town. Thick black clouds began to rampage their way through the crisp blue of the sky. And then came the rumbles of thunder, the flashes of lightning and sheets of rain so thick that everything was as distorted as when you look through beer goggles.
Storms are such a cool example of the raw power of nature alone. And sure, while guns and bombs and all kinds of harmful things exist... nature can always put us in our place. What good is a gun against a tornado?
But I think that one of the most humbling things about it is that we can't control it. We can predict it (though these days the weatherman is NEVER right..). And we can prepare for it. And sometimes we can even evacuate and escape it. But we can't create weather or destroy it, or change it, or move it. It is what it is, where it is, when it wants to be. All we can really do is hope for the best.
If you're a believer in 'everything happens for a reason,' then you would argue that there are reasons behind all of the storms of recent. Tornadoes tearing through college campus, towns leveled to the ground, entire cities evacuated and flooded -- and through it all, people continue to hesitantly head home in hopes that their house might still be there. And even sometimes when it is, everything is destroyed. It's like starting over again entirely... literally, from the ground up.
My mom has a quote from Mother Theresa on her night stand that says something along the lines of 'God would never bestow upon me anything I couldn't handle.' I think this really carries some validity given some of the horrific situations some families have been put in. Sure, the natural disasters really are terrible... and I can't deny the fact, or even omit that many people have lost their lives, either in the weather itself or in rescue efforts.
But what about all the other side effects? Countless people band together through rescue agencies, raising money for relief efforts. Communities begin to work as a team to rebuild what they once had. And families are thankful to be together and be alive. Everyone really gets a new outlook on life. Not to get all biblical... but when the Great Flood came, the wicked had overrun the planet, and had gotten so bad that they needed to be wiped out. Maybe these are just little tastes of a reminder of the promise that was made after that day. It gives everyone a reality check. I'm thankful that I haven't had to endure that kind of challenge yet, and hopefully I will never be put in that position. But as our prayers go out to those people, I hope that they remember the things that are most important in their lives -- not the things they have, but the people in their lives.
...On a quick side note, I went to the library today for the first time in ages -- and picked out a real grab bag of things... a biography of Hugh Laurie, Henry David Thoreau's Walden, a book by one of my favorite authors, William Least Heat Moon, and a book that is entirely in Spanish... for practice for my study abroad. It's pretty insane... but I want to at least try to immerse myself in what I can before I go, and hope it will help.