Tennessee Tornadoes

The tornadoes that hit Tennessee on Friday
afternoon are a reminder of the importance of community, friends,
family.

My body is in New York this weekend (for business purposes) but my heart, mind and prayers are all focused on Tennessee where twisters have claimed lives for the second week and damage has been extensive.

If you’ve ever lived through a natural disaster, especially a tornado which comes and goes in a matter of minutes, you know the feelings many are going through this morning. If not, I can testify that it’s a wrenching, life-changing experience.

I’ve watched from the escape hatch of a cellar to see if our house was standing or being taken down by a twister as it passed overhead in our Oklahoma hometown. When we emerged the house was standing, but the town’s infrastructure, many homes, the hospital, a major shopping mall and virtually all but one major employer were gone. In minutes lives were changed.

The Tennessee tornadoes have not only taken homes and businesses they have taken a substantial number of lives. Physical property can be replaced. Loss of life leaves us spiritually and emotionally bereft in ways that continue to affect us long after the emergency is past.

So my heart and my prayers are in and about Tennessee and the other places that have suffered these past few days. I’ve stayed in touch with family and staff and know that some are affected but, at this writing, all are safe. It’s at times like these that we are reminded of things we too easily take for granted. These include the importance of community, friends and family.

It’s a sure thing that the people of Tennessee will come through this natural disaster. Perhaps some will even be stronger and have a clearer understanding of life and its purpose. Out of tragedy comes the opportunity for deeper, more significant living. If there is a silver lining in these tornadoes it’s the renewed awareness that we need each other. We are stronger and more secure when we work together and when we care for each other. If we try to live as invulnerable, self-contained individuals, we can do it but we’re less complete and always more vulnerable. This emotional and spiritual reality comes into focus in times like this.

In the long haul it’s about community, friends and family.

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