Monthly Archives: November 2010

“Into the eye of the storm”

Thursday Sept. 16 started out as a normal day. I went to work, my sons went to school and my wife had some errands to do. As the day went by the weather was that type my community has all the time, unpredictable. It was warm and cloudy and it would rain for a few minutes at a time, off and on all day. The only thing out of the ordinary was that my wife locked her keys in the car and I couldn’t help her neither could my sons. She had to get her brother to help her. Which it took a while for him to help her and she still needed to finish some errands. That delayed our dinner to a later time, I ended up getting a ride home from work and I decided to walk a couple of blocks home.

As the evening progressed, I was looking at the sky and was thinking how dark and fast moving the clouds were. In all my life, I had never seen clouds that dark or move that fast. I was on the phone with my brother about 5 minutes before the storm hit and I decided I would call him later and go inside. As the wind picked up outside and things started flying by the windows, my wife wanted to try and secure some things outside. I told her not to and close the door. Just as she did, the storm struck and picked our house up and shook it. My wife yelled and jumped at me. Our two dogs were in the house at the time and jumped at me and we were all next to a couch in the living room. The storm lasted about 20 seconds but it was a long 20 seconds of helplessness and fear.

The only thing I could do was hold my wife, our dogs and pray. I prayed and watched complete blackness engulf our home. I prayed and listened to the sound of a freight train go past our home. I prayed and waited on Jesus to come through the storm and take us home. Well, Jesus came, but we did not go home. And our house was ruined. As I began the task of making sure our children were okay (we were in the direct path of the storm and call service was limited at best), I didn’t have time to think about what happened. We have talked with a lot of people about it since then but I haven’t thought about it.

Now as I think about it, I know that my God is awesome and well able to watch over my family and me. And that I may go through the physical and spiritual storms in my life but He will always say peace and be still to the storm on my behalf. I had a lot of people asking what I was going to do right after the storm because we had to get our stuff and move, I was asked a lot of questions and given the offer of a lot of help and so I didn’t have time to be in trauma caused by the storm.

So here I am, a few weeks later, we found a place to live that is a testimony to God, and we have settled in. We are in the process of getting on with living. This wasn’t the first time we have been homeless or displaced, so I guess we weren’t as shocked as others that lost their homes but the trauma is starting to sink in to my emotions and my physical body.

My coping mechanisms are kicking in, so here I am facing a different kind of storm. But God is good and faithful and I know He will bring me through this storm just as He has time and time again. My main goal that has been refreshed in my mind is to love God, will all my heart, soul and spirit. Love myself as I love God and love my wife, sons, family, friends and strangers as I love myself. There is nothing greater than that.

— Jim Todd

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Filed under Food for thought, Stories and observations

Call to OU students

Athens, Ohio.
What do you make of this place?
Here are some haikus:

What brings people here?
Depends on who you are and
Who you want to be

Was it the beauty?
The rolling hills and brick roads?
The trees and hiking?

Was it the renown
Of Halloween, Palmerfest
Mill, High and Oakfests?

Was it your boyfriend?
High school sweets never apart
(good luck with that one)

Could it be the school?
academics, library
“Harvard on the Hock?”

Think of your hometown.
Think of the landmarks, the streets
The grocery store

Think of your neighbors
Some are old, some have children,
Some are rich, some poor

Some drive, some might walk
Some own, some rent, some couch-surf;
All call that place home.

Athens is home, too
For a few thousand of us
Who live here year-round

We’ve been here for years;
Many for generations
Planted here by blood.

I’m not one of those
I’m a transplant to this place
And I am learning.

At first, the locals
Were invisible to me
In “my college town.”

It was easier
to say that Athens is poor
without knowing it.

Athens has struggles
Not unlike many places
But also unlike.

As I ventured out,
I began to know people
Not census numbers.

As I ventured out,
I began to know troubles
And the ties that bind.

I began to know
Homeless people and addicts
Widows and orphans.

I met the best of myself
And also the worst.

It’s hard to reach out
Into the lives of people
Who have oft been hurt

It’s much easier
To swoop in once, and then go
And not open up.

Please don’t stunt your reach
And therefore limit yourself
Reach into this place.

After all, Athens
May not quite be your hometown
But it is a town.

It is a hometown
It is a place of beauty
A place of culture

A place of people
A place of rich heritage
If not deep pockets.

You are here for now
And will have ties here for years…
Why not go make more?

Please come visit me
And get to know your neighbors
as well as yourself.

— Amanda Carlyle

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Filed under Food for thought, Poetry