(Oct. 11, 2011)
Wow, what a difference 5 1/2 months make. I drove through Garretts neighborhood this weekend, and there are signs of new life in the community. The carpet business at the bottom of his hill, which was wiped off the face of the earth, just like Jennifer's and Garrett's house, is almost rebuilt. The grocery /gas station is just about completed with it's restoration. There are new houses going up across the main street (Warrior River Road). There is actually new life staring to replace the devastation that has been the landscape for what seems like years. Yeah, years. I know how long it's been since I had my last neck massage from those huge hands. I know how lomg it's been since I had a hug and a smile from my newest daughter in love. It was the Sunday before April 27th, Easter Sunday. The last pictures ever taken of them are stored on a four GB memory card you can hide under a postage stamp. Yet the hole it's left in my life can only be filled by the Creator of the universe that holds this planet in His Mighty Hand.
The neighbors of G&J's that lived to the left of them, whose house also was blown apart, (a 2 year old and it's mother and father survived it) are down their every week cutting their grass. They've cleaned up their lot, but can't rebuild. Yet they have found the strength to tend to the lot, keepiing it just like it was at 4:30 PM on April 27th, 2011. I can't keep it together long enough to go down there and recover some concrete blocks that I might have a use for. But they're not going anywhere. They are reminders of just how fragile earths foundations are. With life at it's best, everything to live for, and thinking you have decades of grass mowing ahead of you, 30 seconds wipes out your past, present and future. But I hope I am a better father, a changed man and a stronger Christian for the trials God chose to send my way. Though the pain is simply overwhelming at times, it always draws me closer to the one who can soothe it. As Janell put it yesterday, Life Goes On. You can't get off when you want to and feel the need to, and then climb back on. Not even having a stroke will give you that opportunity.
I'll be back.......