Sunday was a perfect day to dry laundry on the line! It was warm; low 80's and there was a swift 20mph wind and plentiful sunshine. Jeans were dry in an hour, fantastic! This perfect laundry line day could not have come at a better time considering I had piles and piles of laundry awaiting me...
I was in a routine; the "Laundry Machine" had been unleashed. I sorted the piles into "candy lane" (as 11 calls it) due to the fact that I make piles of loads in every color of the rainbow... blue, red, green, brown, white, black, denim, yellow. You get the point. I am very, shall we say, particular about my laundry. I consider it an art form LOL. OK so by 6:30 am I had my first load washing. I was strategically loading the machine alternating dryer items and clothes line items (nothing more frustrating that running out of line space). I was whipping through those piles with precision. 43 made an emergency DownyÒ run for me, love him, and the tubs kept spinning.
As the afternoon wore on the sky began darkening. I had checked Facebook between loads and read a post from Tom Skilling of WGN Chicago; "Tornado watch is imminent for the Chicago area." Mr. Skilling is a weather genius! I quickly pulled up our local radar and didn't see anything for 100's of miles. 43 had run BACK into town a few minutes prior and then I hear the door. He walks in with the dry laundry off the line. He didn't want me (or the clean laundry) to get stuck in the rain; he was having a SUPER considerate day I must say! Luckily my laundry rotation had already flipped over to dryer stable loads and I was ready for the sky to open up! Laundry off the line and machines running at full speed with fresh loads, I turned on The Weather Channel.
This is when my beautiful, perfect, productive happy Sunday was permanently altered. I tuned in just moments after the tornado hit Joplin, MO. The Weather Channel newscaster was aimlessly navigating the barren street littered with crumpled cars, tattered lumber and little else. Then the audio went out, or so I thought. But then, in a barely audible choked up voice, I heard him mutter… this is the worst devastation he had ever witnessed. He was sobbing; his raw emotions touched me to the core of my being. I felt his pain, I felt the horror through his eyes and it broke my heart knowing how he may feel embarrassed for being emotional on live T.V. He managed to compose himself and the studio anchors did a great job consoling him and filling in the silence. He explained how they were driving less than a half mile behind this palatial twister, "it was rain wrapped" he said. This prevented them from realizing how close to the danger they actually were. As he walked around in circles looking for any signs of life he explained how even the Fire Station was hit and it was taking the firemen time to respond. He began begging for doctors, nurses, first responders from anywhere nearby to please head over. It was primal. The camera panned to a small group of men carrying someone out the rubble. The reporter said "it looks like they might have rescued..." then swiftly pushes the camera away from the shot and follows up with "actually we may not want to show that right now". Well it was too late; those of us viewing his report saw the grim view. It wasn't a rescue and it broke my heart...
I had to turn the T.V. off immediately. It's not that I didn't care or wasn't interested in learning how to help or what happened. But I knew there was nothing good to see. My heart could not take the visual images. The families now trickling in looking for their loved ones, deserved privacy. I know me turning off my T.V. did not give them that, but it was one less set of eyes on them and it was one less traumatizing visual for me to absorb.
I thought of my laundry. 43 turned back around from half way into town to get it off the line and bring it inside for me. In one instant the people of Joplin lost everything. I was worried about clean jeans landing on the grass, they are wondering where their child was. How can life change in a flash? How can we go through life taking every moment for granted? How can I breathe my next breath and not appreciate it? How can your life be on the line... and you don't even know it?
Life is short. Time moves quickly and the longer you want a moment to last, the faster time goes. Summer break goes by much faster than three months of school. A great movie seems like minutes compared to a two hour traffic jam. Four hours of sleep leaves you feeling deprived, unless you have a newborn baby, then if feels luxurious. Every moment is precious. Every second has value. But most of all, every person in this world has great WORTH and PURPOSE!
Do you know your neighbors? Would you know what name to call out if you were searching through the rubble for them? Would time go by quickly or slowly? Would you only look for the people on your street who shared your beliefs? Would you ask them if they were Democrat or Republican before you helped them? Would you ask someone if they were gay before handing them a bottle of water? If you have a heart, NO! You're there to help, you would just see humans. You wouldn't step over a black neighbor to save a white one. Most people could never be that cold hearted in midst of a crisis!
I take this moment to remind myself and ALL of us that we are HUMAN BEINGS... We are ALL made from something bigger than us... We need to see each other as we see ourselves and treat each other as we wish to be treated. We need to reach out a hand to EVERYONE, EQUALLY. Because in one flash, it could be your life on the line... By separating humans by our differences, we put a lot on the line… we put humanity on the line… and that's a storm none of us will survive!
Be kind. Teach acceptance.