I’m Twisted! A Twister!

Small Elephant is taking a break in her baby reminiscing for a minute so she can properly freak out!

There is a line of tornadic storms covering nearly the entire state of Oklahoma, and weather forecasters have made it clear all day that these aren’t the kind of storms to be messing around with.

That said, both Mr. Gore and I (who would always rather be ridiculously safe than sorry) packed enough belongings to last us for at least two days, along with a few extra comforts (like Redvines and a portable DVD player) and a case of bottled water, and have holed up in the middle of our favorite place, the First Baptist Church…

This building is not an official safe house, but…it is safer than our house. Unless, of course, it turns out to be in the direct path of a stronger-than-brick tornado. But that’s the scariest thing about nights like tonight; there is no sure formula to safety. You try to find the safest building in town, but then you think “but what if the tornado hits that building and misses my flimsy farmhouse?!”

To add to my misery, I cannot actually “freak out.” For one, I am days away from my due date. And if that is not enough, my baby girl, who was perfectly in place for delivery one week ago, decided to do a flip inside her belly-shaped hotel room and become perfectly out of place for delivery.

Which means that Mrs. Gore can’t freak out because I absolutely cannot stress myself into labor tonight…because my husband and parents would not be able to perform a complicated emergency delivery of an upside-down baby…and I certainly don’t want to be out in an ambulance on one of the most dangerous nights of the year on the road, the most dangerous place to be in a tornado. Talk about a series of unfortunate events!

So…I have been walking very slowly tonight, packing very methodically, breathing very calmly, and doing everything I can to ignore the fact that anything could happen in the next few hours while also doing everything I can to trust the God who has brought me safely thus far. But mainly? I’m just trying not to think about it.

Obviously I am failing miserably at that goal. But at least I’m sitting down.

The good news? My husband is buying me a storm shelter tomorrow.

The bad news? We might have to live in it. Us and our upside-down baby.


Well, two hours after writing the above, I’m back in my living room, the children are tucked safely into their beds, and a bowl of ice cream is on the horizon. When we pulled out of our driveway at 6:00 p.m. to take shelter from the storm, I instructed the children to say “Goodbye house!” They do that quite often when we pull out of our driveway, but I couldn’t help but smirk, knowing that in this instance, we really could be saying our final goodbyes. “Say goodbye to your toys!” I said, growing more amused by the second. “Goodbye toys!” By the time we said “goodbye” to the fence, the yard, our trees, and finally Papa’s flowers, I was chuckling out loud, perhaps slightly hysterically…

The funniest thing was that, as much as I have enjoyed my new home, and as much thought and effort I have poured into making it an expression of my particular taste and idea of coziness, as we drove away from it, perhaps for the last time, I could have cared less. It may be a pretty and organized pile of sticks, but a pile of sticks it is, and it houses a bunch of perishables. As I packed our things to go, I couldn’t even pick one thing that I would save if I could…even our most cherished belongings become “nothin'” when uncertainty is looming, and all I cared about was my family and getting to a safe and calm environment where we could be together.

Sure, I would have cried to drive back up the hill and find our home demolished, our belongings strewn across the countryside. But so long as Mr. Gore, Gideon, Rebekah and upside-down girl were there to cry with me, I’d know I’d pretty much be a.ok.

The dangers, toils and snares are not over…tomorrow is a new day, and the curses of sin and death still surround us on every side. But it was so wonderful to drive back up the hill tonight yelling out our open window “Thank you, God, for keeping us safe!” (and Gideon: “Thank you, God, for saving us!!). The rain was gently smacking us on the arms, the air was cool and fresh and, most importantly, my baby girl was still in my tummy, waiting for another (hopefully less dramatic) day to make her arrival.

God is good. His mercy endures forever.

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