When the tornado hit we were faced with children to heal and a home to rebuild so there wasn’t time to be immobilized by intense emotions. Our minds did what they were created to do and our emotions were parceled out in bite-sized doses, some of them being saved for later when the work was done. The work, for my family, is mostly done. So, almost nine months after the tornado, I find myself experiencing the emotions of this journey more powerfully than I did in the insane days following May 22, 2011.
These saved emotions don’t come when I flip through pictures of the destruction or read about a person lost. That would be too easy, too obvious! Like stealthy, emotional ninjas, they hit when I least expect it with the most unlikely triggers.
The Incredibles is playing, a movie I’ve seen tons of times. The bad guy is about to shoot down the jet that the super-hero mom is flying and she radios to the control tower, “There are children aboard – say again – there are children aboard this plane!” The line stops me in my tracks like a punch in the gut.
A restaurant menu features the quote, “Something this sweet never lasts long,” and my eyes fill with tears.
I go to grab my red sweater only to remember that it blew away. My stomach does instant flip flops as I look around the closet that sheltered my family.
We drive by a construction site in another town and one of my kids says, “Look, Mom. They had a tornado here too.” I have to swallow down the instant lump in my throat before I can answer.
What is most surprising to me about these emotional sneak attacks is that I haven’t been able to name the powerful emotion I keep feeling. Is it sadness? Loss? Fear? What-if’s? All of the above?
Then I read the new post on Strolling down the Autobahn, a beautiful blog written by Shannon, a neighbor who used to live down the road. I saw myself in her story. She answered my question. What is this intense emotion I’ve been experiencing so frequently?
It’s a mind-boggling, knee-shaking awareness of how blessed I am. It’s becoming overwhelmed with the intensity of how much I love them. How powerfully thankful I am for them and that I married him and that I carried them in my body and that I’ve had them all these years.
And that I still have them today.
To quote my friend Shannon’s post:
“You see….I got to experience a PROFOUND perspective change….
without anything truly horrifically awful happening to me.
And I don’t EVER
want to go back to the placid-take-things-for-granted-more-superficial mindset I had before this last season of my life.”