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picking up the pieces
The damage is phenomenal around these parts, y'all. This is definitely not our first rodeo with tornado season. West Tennessee residents know the drill...a cold front swoops down from Canada colliding with moist warm air from the Gulf and it all goes to heck in a handbasket around the Mighty Mississippi River, usually at night when everybody is in their comfort zone. The sirens are tested weekly to make sure that they are loud and obnoxious enough to wake everybody up. One of the worst that I can remember was in late January when nobody would ever think of a tornado shattering small town American life. Dyersburg was hit savagely a few years ago and our house on the hill barely dodged the bullet that time. I can only surmise that Big Ernie had future plans for me and BabyGirl. Why else would we still be here? As I type, the Memphis news stations are falling all over each other to scoop the story of multiple lives lost and a community reaching out in faith. Weather reporters are gettin' off on the magnitude of the whole thing and trying to take credit for who warned whom first. It is particularly disgusting when considered in parallel with the aftermath of Katrina, seven months later.

There are stories of bravery and faith to be told in the coming days and weeks. In crisis, God's children usually pull together. It's a shame that it takes a disaster for that to happen. My adopted daughter Heather is presently watching ponds being drained as rescue workers search for her great grandmother's body, missing since last night's storm. The house is gone and her uncle was among the first victims identified. Now she just needs to find her MaMaw and get some closure so they can plan the funeral.

On Palm Sunday of 1994, a tornado leveled the tiny United Methodist Church in Goshen, Alabama where Kelly Clem was pastor. Her young daughter Hannah was one of six children killed by falling debris as they waved palm fronds in joyous anticipation of Holy Week. On Easter, the congregation gathered in the rubble of Goshen UMC to fellowship in faith and remember the message of the day. "He is not here...He is risen." Kelly and her minister husband Dale became missionaries after that, making a difference in our world one life at a time.

It's what Jesus would do. Ya know?
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