I have always enjoyed traveling, but during the last few years, traveling without my husband has spelled disaster. Not that it made any difference in my decisions about driving without him, because I had to go visit my family and friends even when he was in the middle of the busy season. It did not actually dawn on me until the eventful year of 2002, when I had two little boys and was six months pregnant with my third baby.
After one minor accident in Cape Cod, and another major accident at, well, I must admit that Massachussetts does not like me!, the rotary at the Bourne Bridge in Cape Cod, you would have thought I would have seen the light and stayed at home. Yet, that September found me on the road again, heading to my friend's house in Indiana. I figured I was not going to Massachussetts this time so it should not be a problem.
We made it without any incidents and had a wonderful, though extremely hot and humid, week with my friend, whom I will call Mary, and her family. Friday afternoon arrived - the day before we were to pack up and leave for home. I remember standing in my friend's computer room and a strange siren went off. Mary's face turned pale with fear.
"What's that?" I asked her. Having grown up in the sheltered state of Vermont, I did not have any idea what the sound meant.
"That's a tornado siren!" she told me. "It means a tornado is approaching our area."
I looked at her, still not sure of what exactly she was telling me. "Should I be scared?" I asked again, glancing out the window. Everything seemed very peaceful and calm outside. I did not see anything that looked like a funnel cloud.
"Yes!" she exclaimed. "Tornados are not fun! We must start praying!"
I will never forget that afternoon. The sights and sounds are forever etched into my brain and if I never experience another tornado in my life, that is perfectly fine with me.
We all gathered in the large living room. I sat down on the chair right in front of the long window that ran along the entire length of one wall. We began praying and singing, though the reality of what was coming still had not hit me yet. Caleb was sitting on my lap and JJ was sitting with Mrs. D. on the couch. All of a sudden, the sky behind me grew very dark and a strong wind began whipping the leaves around the yard.
"I think I better move away from the window," I thought to myself, suddenly feeling a little nervous. Mary ran behind a chair and pulled JJ down with her. I hurried to the couch and knelt down beside it, sheltering Caleb with my large belly. As the fierce winds grew stronger and louder outside, the prayers grew louder and stronger inside. It was as if a mighty train was rushing by. I dared to peek out the window and watched in fear and awe as I saw what looked like a snowstorm swirling around. I heard a loud crackling and wondered if the strange noise was always a part of a tornado.
Miracle of miracles, the glass window did not shatter into a million shards of deathly glass and remained intact the entire time. Also, once the storm was over, we discovered the crackling sound had been the gigantic tree in the front yard breaking apart and falling down - not onto us huddled in the living room, but into the neighbor's yard and garden. Later on, as we drove down the street to begin our trek home, we saw the sides of homes ripped away, and mass destruction along the entire street. To my amazement, we read in the paper that night that nobody died in that storm, and we heard some awesome stories of how God protected His people.
God had answered our prayers that day, and protected us from the dangerous storm, even in our lack of finding a safer place to hide. He became our safe haven that afternoon, and just as the rainbow was God's sign to Noah after the flood, the beautiful double rainbow that evening after supper was God's sign to me that no matter what happened, He would always be right there with me in the midst of the storm.