Saturday, May 25, 2013

The Granbury Tornado Chronicles Part II: The Day the Kringle Arrived

On May 15th, a tornado destroyed an entire housing development in our community. Six people lost their lives.  There were numerous injuries that evening too.  Needless to say life in our community has not been the same since 8:00 p.m. on the 15th.  All of us have been working extra hours to make sure the immediate needs of victims are met.  I have learned so much in the past ten days!  If the truth be known, I have learned a few things about human nature…

If you asked me what you can do for people that are deeply involved in a relief effort, I think I could generate a decent list. But my friends from Racine, Wisconsin did something for me that I would have never thought of in a million years!  O&H Bakery in Racine is known for its famed Danish pastry known as “Kringle.” The bakery ships these delicacies nationwide everyday.  Yesterday when I arrived home there was a box of three Kringles.  (Cherry, Cinnamon Roll, and Turtle flavors). A card accompanied the box signed by my fellow class of 1980 friends.

I can now add another thing to my list of what to do for people serving others during an extended crisis.  Do something that is a little bit frivolous. (Kringle is a once a year treat around our house at Christmas.) And do something that symbolizes your relationship with that person.  Kringle is a unique delicacy to the city of Racine, where I went to school through the 7th grade. Receiving something that symbolized our common city was really special. 

My lesson about human nature today is: People are generous, but people are also creative in such gestures.  Such creativity is intensely personal and reflective of the beauty of friendship.  Today I feel refreshed and fortified.  And I maybe bouncing off the walls from the sugar in the Kringle before the day is out….

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Granbury Tornado Chronicles Part I: Would You Like to See My House?

I have had several friends that have built new homes over the years.  As the construction proceeded, they proudly showed me pictures of the progress. When the house was finally completed, they eagerly shared photos of the finished project. It is a natural thing to share the joy of a new home with friends.

Today we served hundreds of people who lost their homes in Granbury’s tornado Wednesday evening.  They patiently waited in line for hours to secure a permit from Hood County Emergency Management personnel.  And then they signed up to receive assistance from the Red Cross.  Other non profit agencies were on hand to serve as well.  There were several things that happened today worth noting. One in particular stands out to me this evening.

I helped a lady carry some supplies to her car that we were giving away at the church.  As we loaded her vehicle, this is what she said:  Would you like to see my house?  The tone of her voice sounded like someone that had just finished building a new home.  I said: Sure… She showed me pictures of their devastated house. The only thing left intact was the colorful kitchen cabinets painted in a shade of red. 

As I walked back to the building, I was initially confused. Why would she display such enthusiasm about a house that was in shambles? And then the lights came on in my head.  People need to share their losses in as much as they need to share what they have gained.  She needed me to see that picture. And she also needed me to lament over the status of their destroyed home with the same degree of energy that I would rave over a newly completed house. I think I get her enthusiasm now. Her energetic demeanor was a cry for help in a different sort of way.  It encouraged me to remain energetic in expressing compassion. 

I am tired tonight. It has been a long three days since the storm Wednesday.  But I learned a lot from the people I served today. Their spirit encouraged me to get up and try again tomorrow. There are people with pictures to share...