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Picking up pieces

Yesterday I went to help with tornado clean up at our friend's home.  Their street was one of the ones hardest hit with most homes now piles of rubble on top of a concrete slabs.  Theirs was still standing but without a roof.  Can you ever prepare yourself to see something like that?  Imagine everything in your house large and small, including some furniture picked up and whirling around.  Then suddenly it stops and everything falls where it is.  That is how their home looked.  Coins, clothes, insulation, toys, and tons of glass covered the floors.  Window shades banged against the walls from the wind sweeping in the broken windows.  Furniture picked up and moved to different rooms.  Household items downstairs that were previously upstairs.  Items upstairs now downstairs.  Items that were not theirs in the first place that blew in from someone else's home.  And then there was a picture hanging on the wall perfectly straight, a bowl of oatmeal on the dining table with the spoon still in it and a stack of folded jeans where the mom had been doing laundry still sitting where she put them before.  In all my years in Oklahoma, I've never been that up close and personal with the consequences.  I couldn't have imagined such a scene.

A friend and I worked on the kitchen packing anything that was salvageable while my youngest picked up trash outside and swept the endless amounts of glass on the floor ~ a tiny dent in what needs to be done.

Our friends, still in shock, don't know where they will live or what they will drive because all the vehicles were destroyed.  But they are thankful for every meal and every piece of clothing and of course for the insurance that they pray will be enough.  In the aftermath of a tornado, items with fabric ~ clothes, bedding, upholstered furniture has to be thrown away because the insulation made up of tiny bits of glass gets in everything.  Take away all of that plus everything broken and there's not much left.

Such a sweet Christian family with seven children.  And so many others in the same or worse positions.  At least they are all still together alive.  While we worked in the kitchen, we watched police lines of ATVs in the pasture behind their house looking for the still missing three year old.

And then I came home to my little red farmhouse with everything in its place and felt so guilty.  I wonder if I could handle losing everything. We must remember to cling to what's important ~ God and family.  The rest is just stuff.

There was a framed Bible verse right inside the front door of the Bank's home.   It lay on the floor undamaged covered with shards of window glass.  It said, "'For I know the plans that I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope."  For me it was a reminder that this life and all the stuff that comes with it is temporary and our hope is in heaven if we believe in Him.  My friend working with me dusted off the broken glass and set it in the kitchen window.

No pictures were posted because I couldn't bring myself to publish other's losses so publicly.

Comments

  1. oh my. up close and personal with such loss. may God hold them through this trauma.

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  2. Oh Kim... thankful you're ok and your property is. I can understand that you almost feel guilty when you see what others are suffering. My heart is with the people - they are never far from my mind and from my prayers, so I'm glad you put a personal touch to this disaster.

    Yes, our treasure is in heaven, but we wouldn't be human if we weren't desperately sad at the loss of personal 'stuff'.... so much of our stuff is tied up with precious memories, and the loss of these things goes really deep.

    Praying...

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  3. I am so sorry to hear that. I offer my prayers.

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  4. While it was not considered a tornado..I lived through a powerful storm that ripped off roofs, and damaged all the siding and broke windows. Our little hamlet of 250 homes was in devastation. Yet we all had homes still standing.

    I cannot fathom, walking through a town that has suffered so much loss.

    Thank you for having the integrity of not posting the loss of your friends.

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  5. My heart is so torn by all of this suffering. I heard a 17 year old boy interviewed today, he had pulled the bodies out from under a home..it was the woman's whole family and her she was left alone. They asked him how could he deal with this and he said that he ran away as far as he could and cried as hard as he could. Broke my heart. We are giving through our church..The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints..the Mormon church..all that we can and they will be right there helping for as long as it takes. God be with these people and bring them peace.

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  6. I am glad that you and your family are safe. When I see the pictures of the destruction caused by tornadoes and hurricanes, and other forces of nature, it makes me realize how small we are and how precious our lives are.
    You are so wonderful to help your friends in their time of need.

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  7. A year ago this coming June 5th our little town was devastated by a tornado we lost 2 friends and one of there children. 8 people in total lost there lives, 150 houses were destroyed including part of our church and the high school my son was about to graduate from. Our house was untouched and not in the path of the tornado. Through our church I became in charge of a distribution center where people could come to get the physical things they needed to live day to day. I met some totally amazing people with amazing stories of survival! I remember the feeling when I looked down the street where houses once stood with children playing out front....to see it all gone, you never forget that. I understand your feelings of helplessness. We will continue to pray for your friends and the others who have been through this terrible tragedy. Sorry this is so long, just couldn't stop typing.
    ~Donna~

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  8. Bless you for helping your friends out. I truly can't imagine. Continued prayers for all affected by the devastation. -Tammy

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  9. Kim my heart goes out to you and most especially your friends. I can't even begin to imagine what it must have been like to see what you saw let alone be the people who lived through this. Yes...it's God and family that is most important. Thank you for posting this...sometimes it helps just to write about it. My thoughts and prayers are with you and all those affected by these terrible storms.
    Maura

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  10. I am touched that you were able to help her...you are right..what can we do..help..give..share of ourselves and the things that are in our hands.

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  11. Oh,my, Kim... how terrible for them. I can't quite imagine facing such devastation with seven children to care for. May God's strength see them through.

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  12. I didn't realize you were close to this. How horrifying. I love your thoughts at the end. How true...how true.

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  13. I'm praying for your friends, and all the others who have suffered so terribly these last three weeks. We have thanked God many times for the fact that our home, humble as it is, is still standing in one piece on our little place.

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  14. Jeremiah....a very good verse in all times of life...
    prayers to your friends and to those around them.

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  15. My thoughts are with everyone who has been devastated in these terrible storms.

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  16. Bless you for helping your sweet friends. I hear stories like yours everyday and just cry. Other than donating to the Red Cross, I feel helpless. God bless all of you.

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  17. My husband and I just watched a show about all the awful tornadoes that have hit the south this spring. I can't imagine what y'all are going through!!

    Please keep us updated on the missing 3 year old. Is he from another family? I hope he is found safe.

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  18. Sadly, the 3 year old was found but not alive.

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