The Fabulous Familiar

Taking the ordinary and making it extraordinary...

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Bathrooms, Hymns and Smells, Oh My!

Friday night was quite interesting at my household. After hosting a Premier Jewelry party, it soon became quite apparent that the weather was becoming scary. We turned on the radio, reminiscent of the old days and gathered by it for instruction. When they encouraged us to gather in a bathroom or safe room, we complied. My friend Anna from home drove all the way to Searcy to have such an adventure, bless her heart, and the jewelry presenter signed on for more than she bargained for. Her one-year-old son thought the whole ordeal was quite fun, jumping on the pillows in the tub.

Saturday was along the same lines; Anna, Loramy, and I ventured out to FroYo's for some icecream and then (unwisely) decided to stop at Red Box to get a movie. Shortly after arriving under the awning, the sky breaks open and rain pours. One guy looked at me, "Hey, have they issued a tornado warning yet?" "I'm not sure," I replied, "but it is sure making it's way over here." His eyes get really big and he begins to run back to his car. "I got struck by lightning last night so now I don't mess around!" he says while he hurriedly makes his way to a safe haven. As I do in all inappropriate times, I bust out laughing once he has left. Everyone else under the awning begins to look at me; though they try to look at me as that heartless girl that laughs at other people's fate, they couldn't help but crack a smile at the boy who defied lightning's strike to go rent a movie.

I have lived in Arkansas my whole life so tornadoes and being trapped in bathrooms is nothing new to me. I remember freshman year in the dorms when we would have to gather on the first floor until the storms cleared. Girls from up north and places that don't have this type of weather were in hysteria, and it blew my mind that a tornado warning was such an unknown fear. I guess it is the equivalent to me being caught up in a hurricane and a Florida girl yawning.

All this history being said, every time this happens I can't help but be reminded of family times in Paragould, Arkansas. I always knew it was serious when I would come downstairs and see Dad gathering the old radio, a few pillows and his book of the week. "Come on!" he would call as he headed down to the basement. The groans could be heard amidst the raging winds because everyone hated that basement. The stairs would creak as you walked down and it was evident that a few wasp had already beaten us to the shelter.

We would sit on the stairs and listen to the reports on the radio, hoping it would pass as quickly as possible. An extension from 10:00 to 10:45 was torture and it meant 45 more minutes in that dreadful setting. Pretty soon, a horrid smell would slowly disperse throughout the basement.


"Wasn't me!"

Everyone would deny that they caused the basement's new aroma, but it would usually be quite apparent when either Ryan or Kelsey would start laughing, proud of making an already unpleasant situation smellier.

Ryan would always pipe up with some amazing idea like, "Hey, Dad can we sing some hymns or something?" He would pass out the hymnals that were for some reason stored down here. I have to admit that my attitude was not always the best when stuck in these situations. I would like to say that I was like the Apostle Paul and would joyfully sing in the darkness of the basement. Most of the time, however, I would sing "A Shelter in the Time of Storm" through gritted teeth.

Looking back, I now know that we would have made FOX news had people learned of our family's ways. I can see a Pulitizer-winning photograph of the five Reelys huddled with no shelter over them, clinging to their songbooks and in the midst of deadly gases.

As long as I live in Arkansas, I will have plenty of more storm shelter memories to come. Sitting in the hallway with my friends post-jewelry party will definitely be up there on my list. I just thank God for keeping us safe through this once again and my heart is heavy for those who were not so fortunate this time around.

I am reminded of one of my favorite Christian songs, "Praise you in This Storm" by Casting Crowns which says,

I was sure by now,God, that You would have reached down
and wiped our tears away,
stepped in and saved the day.
But once again, I say amen
and it's still raining
as the thunder rolls
I barely hear You whisper through the rain,
"I'm with you"
and as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise
the God who gives and takes away.

And I'll praise you in this storm
and I will lift my hands
for You are who You are
no matter where I am
and every tear I've cried
You hold in your hand
You never left my side
and though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm

I think my family had the right idea when they "forced" us to sing hymns while the storms raged. It not only calmed our nerves, but it reminded us of who is really in control. I think storms are that reminder for me; that reminder that I can't do everything on my own and that--in reality-- I can't control everything. This is quite a realization for a control freak.

I try to remember that no matter what storms--figurative or real--appear in my life, I should praise God in the midst of it. He is the only one that can make the rain stop, the clouds part and the sun come shining through.


Blogger Cole said...

I just about busted out laughing (yep still in the testing lab!) at the guy that got hit by lightning but the rest of the post was very moving. Did I mention I'm jealous of your writing ability? :)

May 19, 2010 at 10:07 AM  

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