Wednesday of this past week--the day after--dawned sunny and clear, but several degrees cooler. The only debris in our yard was left over from the ice the previous week. But, as daylight dawned more and more damage was visible on the north side of the interstate. We learned that the home of one church member was completely destroyed.
Thursday I drove to Memphis for a Committee on Ministry meeting and about five miles west of town I began encountering clean up crews. Trees were snapped in two or completely uprooted, highway signs were twisted, billboards were down and on the sides of the road and in the median you could see places where eighteen wheelers had overtuned. After three or four more miles trees were upright and things looked normal. I saw no signs of damage in the part of Memphis where we met, but I know there is destruction there compounded by looting.
Yesterday, Friday, we drove to Corinth for my treatment. It was a beautiful day. There were patches of green in the fields and some trees had that pinkish tint that appears right before they bud. The drive took us through another area in West Tennessee where the storms hit. I had heard that a mattress factory had been demolished and knew its exact location because I had thought it strange that there would be such a factory in such a rural area. Well, it's not there anymore. The front of what had been the building is crumpled and the contents are all over the land behind, in the trees, draped over the fences. I have heard that mattresses were found miles away.
Schools in our county, as well as in some others, remain closed until Monday. It has taken some time to get power restored and some faculty and staff have had damage at their homes that needed attention. Students at Union University won't report back until February 18. Authorities are still trying to determine what buildings are usable. They know 80% of the residence halls are gone, so finding a place for students to live is part of the challenge. Hopefully, they will be able to complete the semester.
Being brought face to face with both tornadoes and my cancer in the same week prompted comparisons. I learned early in life the difference in a tornado "watch" and a tornado "warning." A "watch" means that conditions exist for the possibility of a tornado and you should be alert--watching. A "warning" needs to be taken much more seriously. This means a tornado has been sighted and those in the vicinity and/or path should move to a place of safety. A person who has a family history of cancer or who has certain risk factors in themselves (i.e. previous cancers) is under a cancer "watch." A "warning" means cancer has been sighted/detected and a person should do everything possible to be safe. Sometimes in either the case of the tornado or the cancer, you heed all the advice, take all the precautions and you still fall prey. Sometimes the tornado devastates one side of the street and not the other. Some survive cancer; some do not. Because we never know when or where the storms in our lives may occur, we need someone in our lives who is bigger than any storm, someone who brings peace in the midst of the storms and someone who will ultimately deliver. Praise God, He is that One!
Scans on Tuesday showed good improvement over the ones in November and though they are not clear we are encouraged that the treatments are working. Two more treatments will be given in this series, then the doctor evaluates and we go from there. Be assured that we are on "watch," knowing that conditions exist that could cause more problems. And, being "warned" I am heeding all the advice and praying that the treatments send this storm on its way again.