Since I began the Gratitude Challenge from Tiny Prints on Monday, it’s been a very interesting week thus far. Day 2 brought a lovely gift (pictured below), a journal full of blank sheets and maybe even little glittering moments of epiphany. I’ve loved writing in it, love exploring my gratitude and remembering why I’m so thankful for this life.
Day 3, yesterday, the challenge was to blog about something we’re grateful for in our lives. Not a challenge for me, not at all. However, a wrench was thrown into my blogging plans and my life when a huge storm hit our little town. The power was out in the whole town for the rest of the night and early morning, and I was forced to shelf my plans of writing about the challenge.
We are not from the Midwest originally, and therefore don’t know to do things like watch the clouds and storms and remember not to stay inside working non-stop while the rest of the town knows there’s a thunderstorm watch on…so we were surprised when around 7:30 pm the power went out. Not quite dark yet, we went out on our back deck to check out the storm. It had been mildly raining, nothing too worrisome, we thought. Until we looked up in the sky.
The clouds were something that I’d never seen before. A mix of dark and light and sun behind a huge enormous wall of swirling cloud. We looked at it and said things to each other like, “wow, that looks like it’s touching the ground, should we be worried?” and, “I would be so freaked out right now if the sirens were going off”. And then it passed. The monstrous wall headed north and disappeared over Lake Michigan.
Not 20 minutes later, as dark fell upon us and we found all the flashlights and the candles in the house, we heard that there had been a tornado that had touched down. Maybe a 1/2 a mile or so, from our street. Then we knew — we had been watching the tornado go across the sky and had done nothing! No running for cover, no preparations, just outside watching a cool storm. The moment I had the “what if’s” running through my head, I immediately pushed them away. We were ok. My family was fine. We were grateful.
This morning we all went out and drove around the town to look at the damage. Our town has never seen a twister this big before, and I’m overwhelmed with gratitude. I’m thankful for no reported injuries. I’m grateful that the damage was kept to trees and property, mostly rooftops. I’m grateful our house was not in the path and I’m grateful that we were safe, despite our cluelessness about tornadoes. I took some video and pictures of the damage, take a look:
But as I read the challenge for today, Day 4, I realized something else. The challenge asks us to journal a message of thanks for some “negative” in our life. Something that has given us an opportunity to grow. What I realized is — I’m grateful for the tornado.
The storm showed me how a town can truly work together in a time of need. It made our small town come alive today, everyone helping each other to clear the debris, repair a roof, salvage a car. It showed me that a force of nature is powerful beyond my imagination, and made me grateful I rarely have to see that true power. It made me grateful to be alive.
As you look at things that are molding you with fire, testing you and shaping you in the harshest way possible, do you find gratitude? Can you be thankful for the trials? I know I am.