I started researching the Tornadoes in the Mid-West that happened a few weeks ago while I was in Missoula Montana. Here I am a few weeks later, now ready to complete my report. I was listening to Bruce Springsteen’s greatest hits which includes some of his great songs—Dancing In The Dark, Born In The U.S.A and My Hometown and it jostled my memory that I had began writing about the tornadoes and needed to complete the assignment.
Seems like the story of 40 people dying in Tornadoes would be a downer in many ways. My wife(Gail) mentioned the story to me about a man who was killed in the tornado who was going to celebrate his 40th wedding anniversary with his wife and now after doing all the planning for their anniversary party, his wife now has to spontaneously prepare for his funeral. When I heard the story a part of me wanted to ignore it because internally I knew that this was an area in which I was being pulled to explore. At around 5 am this morning I awoke to an internal call to read the news and specifically to look into the tornadoes that hit the Mid-West this past week. Initially, I just started reading the NY Times daily updates, then the sports section and than got into an area of interest to me- Advocacy for NCAA student-athletes. As I was reading about the Advocacy program, an image of a man-holding dog popped up on my screen and there it was-the tornado had blown into my field of vision. I tried to continue reading about Advocacy for athletes, but I was commanded to do more research on the tornadoes.
I have never been in physical tornado (was in a tornado warning one night in Kansas) and there are days where I feel like I’ve been thrown all around in my conscientious. As I started looking at the photo spreads that were online I was pressed to fully understand what I was seeing. Was I seeing devastation, disaster or some sort of change? Most of the images were of old places and old towns and I asked myself was this a spiritual action of some sort. I noticed that as I saw each image, a part of me began to open up more. I could breath deeper and there was a freedom ringing inside of me that I hadn’t felt for awhile.
I was moved by several stories, but one story in particular caught my attention and it was the story of seven-year old Jamal Stevens. Jamal’s story is fascinating and a demonstration of how protection and magic play a part in our daily lives. I saw the image of Jamal Stevens a seven-year old boy. I read the caption underneath the image. Jamal had been thrown from his home and was found 395 yards down the road on the inter-state, with only miner injuries. Wow, there is an exuberance that came over me, along with the recognition that magic is everywhere.
For me these images invoked the feeling of starting over, embracing new energy and staying hopeful. Yes, 40 people died, but many more lived. I found myself stuck on the 40 that died and it took me a moment to realize that the mathematical percentages where skewed towards the living. I am not quite sure of what all I am looking at here, but it definitely has a lot to do with life, death, conscience and the All. There is more to research, but this is a start.
Check out Jamal’s story [here]
Check out man of laughter [here]