15 May 2008

In the Eye of the Storm

or storms...?

This past week, the girls and I made a whirl-wind visit to Arkansas to visit family since we had not been home since Thanksgiving. This was a very short, fast trip, but it was definitely NOT boring!
Not long after our arrival, tornadoes were touching down all over the state.
Arkansas has taken a real battering this spring.
Our old neighborhood in Little Rock -- Cammack Village -- was horribly assaulted by a tornado just a week before.
I took a couple of picture with my cell phone so I could show Clay.

Saturday night, we were in El Chico watching golf-ball and ping-pong ball sized hail fall to the ground for a good 3 minutes or so. My van now has very subtle -- barely noticeable, but still there -- round dents all over it. You can't really see them unless you look at the surface just right, but they are there. =(

Yesterday, against my father's advice, we started the drive home.
The first 3 hours were fairly uneventful -- just some light rain.
I was feeling pretty confident in my decision to make the drive.
Within 45 minutes, I would be seriously questioning that decision.

As we crossed the Mississippi bridge at Natchez, the sky turned a dark, sickly green -- something that anyone raised in tornado-prone areas knows is an ominous sign. I contemplated pulling over, but the rain was still light so I kept going.
In the vast, seemingly barren expanse between Natchez and Woodville, the rain became sheets of grey. I flipped on my flashers and kept going.
After all, there was NO guarantee of a forthcoming end to the storm.
The Weather Channel had predicted 2 full days of assault to our region.
I slowed to about 35 mph and pressed on.

To say that I was praying a lot during this leg of the journey would be an understatement!
My prayers were constant and unremitting.
All around us, it seemed, the sky was black and foreboding; and it was only 3:30 in the afternoon!

I looked for some kind of shelter -- any place to stop and wait out the worst of it -- but there was no safe haven to be found.

So we kept going.
For almost an hour and a half, we continued in this deluge, but something kept me going.
Once again, in St. Francisville, I considered stopping, but again, I passed up any possible points of refuge.
We made it home in record time -- a 2 hour journey completed in 3 hours -- just as the dark clouds were gathering above our house.

I can honestly say that I have never been happier to see my garage and hear the familiar barking of our yappy dachshund.
This morning, the newspaper revealed the extensive damage caused by these storms around our state -- and all around the path we had traveled!
It was most certainly divine providence that we did not stop or change our course.

And though my head and neck and shoulders are throbbing today with the residual tension of that drive, I feel so blessed to have come through the storms relatively unscathed.

I will say, it may be a LONG while before I want to drive in rain again!


Lesley said...

Whew... what a crazy drive home for you and the kids! Thank God y'all made it home safe and sound, but how could you not with God steering your van?!

:-) :-)

The Maggio Family said...

Girl, so glad you made it home safe!

My twin sister lives in Natchez. We grew up in Ferriday--right across the river. Small world.