Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Three minutes

I was listening to my husband's car leaving. As he set out on what he thought would be an average day at work, there was something much bigger in store for him. My thoughts were interrupted by an eerie howl that attacked me from the nearby woods. I pondered only briefly what the sound might be, and then sat straight up in the bed with nothing but disturbance. Tornadoes.

I need to warn my husband. I had forgotten all about the bad weather, we rarely even watch t.v. but the storms are coming, and he doesn't even know. I turn the t.v. on as I walked past it to do my usual three minute wake up routine of coffee, clothes, glasses, etc. I automatically heard the weather man and at 3:30 a.m., you know something big is happening for him to be there.

I came back to the the television to see exactly where the storms were and for now, we were okay. I texted my husband and told him to be sure he listened to the radio on the way to work but not to text me back, he needed to focus.

As the weather got worse, I watched my husband's route to work in my head and tried to time his every move. With my hand's clinched around my coffee cup I watched in horror as the weather got worse and worse the more distant my husband travelled. I could only hope he was heeding my advice and listening to the radio. Right about the time he arrived within miles from work, I heard the weather man say there was a tornado travelling in the same direction. Firemen were calling in telling of overturned vehicles right where my husband was supposed to be. The tornado was crossing over one of the busiest highways right now, and my husband was on that highway. I watched, knowing "it" could happen, but knowing I was never going to be ready for "it" to.

Sunday night one of our preachers hit the nail on the head when he said something like, we all say we're ready, and then turn around and make plans for tomorrow. We put a lot of things off until tomorrow, because in the past, tomorrow has always come for us. It's not always going to be that way.

I'm not sure I even took a breath as I watched on the screen that map showing the twister go over that highway. I listened intently as they named towns, cities, roads in it's path. Whispering quick prayers as the tornado ripped across the land.

The phone rang. My trembling hands picked it up and saw my husband's number. For a moment, I thought it was going to be someone from a rescue crew on the other end. When I heard his voice, I was so elated. He was arriving at the spot where the tornado had just passed over. He told me of power lines down, debris, damage, and within his own confusion, he finally realized he'd just missed the violence of a tornado. His phone had not been on...he never got my warning. He had not listened to the radio, he was listening to a cd.

He told me that right down the road he had stopped his car at a gas station. He can drive through almost anything but this time, he pulled over for about three minutes. Those three minutes probably saved his life. It obviously just wasn't his time to go this day. All I could do was thank the Lord for having him pull over because all other attempts failed to reach him. But he was safe.

At a pitch black 4 a.m. hour, he really had no idea until he got off work, what he'd just survived. He saw the path of the storm later on that day, the devastation that killed, the devastation that hurt so many, and he was so grateful. Overturned 18 wheelers, homes ripped apart, schools torn to pieces, yet, he stopped for 3 minutes. Thank you Lord for one more day!

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