A year ago today, a tornado hit Raleigh. This tornado was not especially strong but it was decently wide and quite long-lived, traveling over 60 miles before it lifted. It left quite an ugly scar on Raleigh and killed 4 people. This tornado and the others that weekend were soon eclipsed by a much worse tornado outbreak only a couple of weeks later.
This tornado passed less than a mile from where I was then living, taking out the major power lines to our area. The associated storm ripped a part most of the trees in my neighborhood and scattered debris everywhere. That evening as I was trying to make my way home for the first time in a week (before I knew that was futile), I drove through some of the worst hit areas. I later walked through my friend’s neighborhood where one street was obliterated while the streets around it were left intact. A couple weeks after the storm, I had the opportunity through my job to visit the mobile home park where several children died, in order to provide some housing counseling to families who lost their homes.
Growing up in Tornado Alley, I’ve always found tornadoes fascinating. One of my favorite memories is of my dad showing my brother and I the beginnings of a funnel cloud (while my mom was yelling at us to get back into the house). I even was a meteorology major for about 3 semesters.
Still, being so close personally to a tornado shook me, in a way no other storm ever has. I now have seen firsthand, if only in small ways, the devastation and lost. Having a greater appreciation of the power of the world God has created has helped me to see just how much larger God is…and how devastating our sin is.
While I would not want to go back to that week and half of being away from home and having pneumonia, I’m glad that I went through it. I have grown closer to my Rock because of it.