Thursday, April 28, 2011

Tornadoes, Uprooted Trees, Mass Devastation, Social Media, Royal Weddings and Providence

We here in Alabama are going through a gamut of emotions this morning as the reality of yesterday's brutal weather starts to sink in. This month has been storm after storm after storm. In my own backyard, I see providence. April 15 brought two tornadoes to Alabaster and because of forethought, my miracle dog was uninjured when a tree crashed in her area because she was inside. Last night, providence was clear as the dog's house was moved two feet and an entire tree was uprooted missing the house by about five feet. Again, the miracle dog was inside.

But the damage in Alabaster and Pelham pales in comparison to Tuscaloosa and Cullman. We who live in Alabama who only have downed trees and no structural damage or injuries are fortunate. Yes, it is ugly, but we are fortunate.

I have friends in Cullman who I have not heard from yet. I have friends in Tuscaloosa who are fine but in shock. And to be frank, I am with them. Most of Alabama is with them. Our hearts are torn over this.

Growing up, I lived in tornado alley in Oklahoma. My parents shielded me from "The Wizard of Oz" until high school. I saw "Twister" and "Tornado." But the footage from Tuscaloosa was exactly like what was in those films. Only real.

I heard McDonald's, Krispy Kreme, Hobby Lobby, and the shopping center off McFarland Avenue were flattened. And I wanted to cry. These are familiar places for any of us who have attended the University of Alabama. I want to go there and gather all my friends in hugs and cry with them.

Ten years ago, we relied on television, radio, newspapers and telephone for news about loved ones. Today, Facebook and Twitter. News of this tornado spread internationally via Facebook from the international students.

Yet, a royal wedding has been half of the focus on morning news shows. In the wake of mass destruction, we Alabamians do not care about the royal wedding. A wedding is joyful but lots of people get married and do not get such media attention. In the wake of the destruction in Alabama, the news media need to wake up and reset their priorities.

Providence got us through. Our death toll in Alabama is staggering. Providence will get us through. Our churches need to step in now and help their members and other residents. Show everyone that "Aslan is on the move."

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