Grateful for our family’s safety during tornado

Published 5:55 pm Monday, April 20, 2020

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As we hunkered down a few nights ago for the anticipated storms and the continuing coronavirus threat, we were glad to see the dawn of a new sunshine-filled day. Gratitude was in our hearts as the storms had passed. However, I learned later that morning that our older son Brad and his family, who live in Chattanooga, had experienced one of those pop-up tornadoes in their community. Turns out that it was an EF-3 tornado that had stayed on the ground for nine miles.

We are so grateful that our son, his wife and three young people are safe. Their house and a number of their neighbor’s houses were damaged.

When asked about this experience, Brad said they were watching television that night when the weather forecaster announced that a tornado was heading toward their area. He said he and his family immediately moved toward their safe place, which was a closet under the stairway. They had 30 seconds to spare.

When the tornado hit, it sounded like a train, caused the house to shake, produced popping sounds like things hitting the house, windows rattled and there was enormous pressure in their ears. The whole thing lasted for about four to five minutes.

To be sure, there were injuries from that tornado, but as far as I know, no loss of life.

I am sharing this with you for several reasons. First, we are grateful for our family’s safety. In a dangerous situation like a tornado on the ground, we are aware that lives are in jeopardy. And tragically and sadly, lives are inevitably lost in these sudden tornado outbursts. At that point, regrettably, we can only empathize. However, we can also pray God’s comforting grace upon those families and do practical what we can to assist. As I said, we are so grateful for our family’s safety

Second, we thank God, however, for his blessings. I talked with my son, and he was simply overwhelmed by the outpouring of community support he and his family were receiving. One CEO in his community who had 60 employees had sent all his employees out to help those who had been affected by the tornado. And despite the coronavirus threat, other Good Samaritans were lending a hand.

Third, it is critically important that we pay attention and heed the advice of our weather forecasters, especially during storms and unsettled weather conditions. Oh, like you, I know it can sometimes get tedious, and second-guessing can come to the forefront. But the point is, being careless can cost lives.

Fourth, abiding by the wisdom of our medical and governmental leaders during this coronavirus pandemic is essential. Working together in the best interest of everybody is the key. Undoubtedly, it is the best way to slow the virus down and “love your neighbor as yourself.”