Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Paying It Forward

Twelve years ago, we were hit by a tornado on May 3rd, 1999. It was a life-changing experience and one we will never forget. I wrote about it once and once was enough so I’ll post the links if you’re interested in reading about it.








Anyway, yesterday a terrible tornado blew through our little town, destroying one hundred homes and killing some of our neighbors just a mile or so north of us. It was déjà vu at it’s worst.



Piedmont Tornado, May 24, 2011

 

Today, I took half the day off hoping to help in some way. I am so thankful to be able to say we found a way to help. We met a couple that has no family in the state and lost everything including most of their pets yesterday. They will be staying with us while they try to figure out how to walk the path before them. It won’t be easy for them, but I can say without a doubt, they will make it. I know because I did.



As this husband and wife drove through our gate for the first time, I immediately recognized the look on both of their faces. It was the same look Bob and I wore for weeks after May 3rd, 1999. It’s a mixture of shock and pain and disbelief. It’s a look I’ll never forget and yet I am thankful for that because that means I can understand it in others now. There was a time I would have begged to forget. I am grateful to remember now because I know there is a way through it all.



When they exited their car, Bob and I hugged them and cried with them. It’s such an interesting thing to meet strangers and yet have an immediate connection with them. Shared pain can be a strong bonding compound I suppose. We showed them the farm and held their hands as we walked and talked. They both cried and thanked us repeatedly for our hospitality. That’s when it hit me like a sledgehammer. They saw our offer of help as if it were some big act of kindness. But it wasn’t and isn’t. It is the beginning of healing for them and the tail end of healing for us. We are being given an incredible gift. One we never asked for and didn’t see coming. We are being given the gift of paying it forward, of doing for others what was done for us. The days ahead won’t be easy but they will be worth the journey. I'm absolutely sure of that.

29 comments:

Ms. A said...

God bless you, Marla! How lucky that couple is, to have found someone that truly understands their pain and loss.

Anonymous said...

What an amazing thing to be able to take a tragedy and turn it around to help someone else. God works in mysterious ways. You guys are the best example of what a christians REALLY are.

Oh yeah, did you happen to tell them most people who come to stay end up leaving feet first?

Love you,
Marie

The Duck Herder said...

well, I can not think of a place I would rather be than in the big arse hug of the avalanche of love. avalanche = 1, tornado = 0.

Prairiemaid said...

I know you don't think you are doing anything amazing, but for this couple, it is the life rope they need to hold to.

Praying many blessing will be granted to both you and your guests.

Prayers,
Cheryl

So. Cal. Gal said...

You's good people...but I already knew that. : )

I remember the tornadoes of '99. A friend lives in Midwest City and he spent his birthday in a basement. The roof of his house had been nearly sheared off. But he felt lucky because he still had his family, friends and life.

Brian Miller said...

smiles. yes and it will be good for both of you...sorry for all the damages and lives....ugh

TechnoBabe said...

I remember reading your posts about your experience and I was a fan since then. We are watching online news of the tornadoes. You have blossomed even more over the years to the point that your reaction to find someone who you can help is a natural one. You have a true understanding of being in the family of the human race.

Parsley said...

I thought of you when this happened, and of your story. I'm still in shock as I think most in our state are.

Perhaps since you've been there...you could tell us how best to help and love these affected. I know pray of course but where do we even start?

Mommy Lisa said...

Oh Marla - you are so full of everything good. (HUG)

Glen said...

You are a proper decent people, you lot.

don't go changing

aLmYbNeNr said...

You are amazing. I am so glad to at least know you through this blog. You make people want to do good. The world needs more people like you.

Sarah said...

I was thinking of you every time I saw it on the TV news. You're doing an amazing thing for the couple, so thank you!

Monkey Man said...

Bless you.

Anna said...

I have been so torn up this week and praying for those who have suffered great loss. I have been thinking about you too. Love you guys.

Wanderlust said...

Oh Marla. God love you. Sending love and healing to you and the family you are sheltering and all those who have lost someone or something in the recent storms. xx

Watershed said...

Marla, I came via Wanderlust and have just read the four posts on this theme. What an experience you've had and what fabulous people around you. I'm glad you can now help someone else who is living the same pain. Best wishes to you and yours.

Rawknrobyn.blogspot.com said...

Wow, Marla. Just wow. The four of you are lucky to be together at this juncture. In yours and your husband's care, they will surely get through this.
You inspire and I love you.
Prayers and blessings out your way.
xoRobyn

Dawn said...

You and your family are such a blessing to EVERYONE around you.

My husband's cousin and his girls were in that '99 tornado. They lived at bridge creek in a mobile home. Both girls were in comas for months. It was awful.

I'm going to go read what you all went through during that time.

Mrs. Tuna said...

You are a better person than I to take on another burden when you have so much going on.

Peace girlfriend.

Teresa - in the Middle Side of Life said...

just more examples of what amazing people you and bob are. reading your posts warms my heart.

Okie Book Woman said...

I am always so amazed by you and Bob. Thank you for opening your hearts and your home. You show us what compassion is all about.

reddirtsweetie said...

"No one is as capable of gratitude as one who has emerged from the kingdom of night." -Elie Wiesel

I never lost everything to a tornado. But as a child my life felt as if a tornado was ripping through it. Only faith, love, and the kindness of strangers got me through some days. Thank you for caring for that family.*HUGS*

Not So Simply Single said...

Wow, amazing.

You are still a saint in my eyes...

Lisa

Deborah said...

We sat in our basement a few weeks ago while a tornado hit several blocks away from us.

I kept thinking of your story. Somehow I knew we wouldn't be hit. Don't know how I knew that.

You are am amazing find for all of us here. Love how you just are.

Teresa - in the Middle Side of Life said...

Just wanted you to know that you've been in my thoughts and in my prayers. Touch base when you can.

Maryann Sheehan said...

You are a truly an amazing person with a heart of gold!

Enchanted Oak said...

Good golly, Miss Molly. Your twisters are like my earthquakes. I thought there was a rule about lightning not striking twice... But no. I'm glad God gave you the chance to do for your new friends what you've done.

Glen said...

Hello - I thought I'd add a quick note to say Hi and check you are okay?

Bette said...

Miss You!