The Calm After the Storm

Mom if you are reading this - prepare yourself for pics of James' house ...

Thunderstorms predicted for tomorrow.  This is a big deal to me.

February 5, 2008

I was having a dinner meeting with my boss and a co-worker.  We were planning out the new year and discussing changes in our work flow.  I could see the television in the bar (at Applebee's) and saw we were having some bad weather.  It's Arkansas - it's how we roll - no big deal.  Until my mom called.  We were just finishing up so I let it go to voicemail and called her as soon as I got out to my car.  She was obviously upset and said it had hit my brother's house.  What?  Mom, where are you?  At James', a tornado hit his house.  How bad is it?  It's dark, I'm not sure, ... but I think it's all gone.  What?  All gone...

She was right, it was all gone.  All gone...

The bluff where his house once stood.  The landscaping and sidewalk remain.

The truck he drove before the tornado took it.

My dear brother, surveying the loss.

When the weather gets bad my family cringes a little.  We once just gave a small consideration and went on our way.  Now we watch the news, the weather, we call each other and we wait for it to pass.  This was devastating for us all.  Cows, barns, a beautiful horse, trucks, trailers and his home with all its memories - gone in mere seconds.  A random event, a random victim - a family forever changed.  

But, (and the but is the important part) what you don't see, is the field full of pick-up trucks, the hosts of family and friends that showed up to clean up - then to rebuild.  And less than a year later...

The new house!
A new house, built by so many loving hands.  A beautiful home and later a great landscape all around.  I will try to get a pic of the house today but I think you get the picture.  What was lost was restored.  What seemed hopeless and wrecked, rose up better than before.  It was a wonderful time when we were all together rebuilding.  Expressing our love for each other by sharing this burden.  It prepared us for the worst tragedy our family ever felt, losing Dallie, two years later.  And yes, it is the same brother, my only one.

As I watch tomorrow's storms gather to roll across the state, I am reminded.  We are stronger than we know and when we work together there is not much we cannot accomplish.  For those of us who have gained so much weight it may feel hopeless but it is not.  It may feel lonely - but there are so many folks willing to help.  We may get discouraged or full of fear but there is always a new tomorrow - full of promise.

I never heard my brother say anything to make me think he was feeling sorry for himself.  He may have had those moments, and I think we all would, but he was tough like a country boy usually is.  He was still alive, he had friends and family to help, and after the storm had passed, we picked up our trash bags and started sifting through the debris to see what we could salvage.  After that we moved on - we rebuilt his life, one board at a time, with the sound of hammers hitting nails as the exclamation point on every hope we had for him. 

No need for rush, no need for drama, just a calm assurance - it was going to be okay.  And it was...and it is.

That's all - Thanks Ya'll!



  1. Wow! Reading this blog and seeing the pictures honestly took my breath away AND made me cry. What a powerful message you've shared here for all of us. Things can be replaced. People can't. Sometimes we get it all mixed up until we read something as beautiful and moving as this and perspective is restored again. I'm going to be referring any readers of my blog here today to get some uplifting and powerful "soul" food. Whew - words fail me right now.... So, thank you so much for visiting my blog yesterday. Your comment was heartfelt and appreciated.


  2. Jackie, I feel the same about you. We are all in this together. We all just press on don't we? Life is strange and funny and sad and then funny again. Thanks so much for your support! It means everything to me to have folks care about my "stuff"...

  3. "no need for rush, no need for drama..." I love that. Deb

  4. Wow, unbelieveable. It's amazing how people will pull together.

  5. It's amazing how people pull together, it's amazing the love we have for others. God has taught us well and we are learning to pass it on.
    Thank you for sharing with us. Thank you for reminding us what we are capable of.
    Have a blessed weekend.


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