Sometimes I try to avoid the tornado hit areas in Tuscaloosa. I see it eveyday when I pull out of my apartment to go to work but I turn the other way and try not to look too much. I think about how many times I drove those roads a week before the storm, and how many times I have driven them since - significantly less. I think I'm avoiding them, not even realizing it. But sometimes I can't. Like today. I drove through 2 of the hit areas and my heart still stops and I have to catch my breath as I pass by. Especially on our main road here in t-town. All the places I've been so many times over the past 6 years. Where I've locked my keys in my car, gotten heart sprinkle donuts with Molly, went to fancy dinners before formals, gotten my lights on my jeep fixed for free, and the list goes on and on. I live in my little bubble of school and home, I think sometimes I pretend it didn't happen, even though I do see piles and piles of rubble every morning and afternoon to and from work.
Last week I went by our old house. I've heard it was gone but I hadnt gone to see it myself. The neighborhood was leveled so I was very nervous. As I drove down our street and saw that evey single house had significant damage, my heart sank. I dodged rubble and trees that were still in the street, 3 weeks later. Suprisingly, our house is still standing! But the garage apartment next to our house was gone. There was a huge pile of rubble in our side yard but the house was still there! I think I might have lost I if it was no longer there! I also drove by our friends house which was across the neighbohood where we spent many many days and nights. It had roof damage and tons of debris and rubble in the yard but it was still there too. Many many memories in those 2 houses....
Today I was walking from the gym to my apartment and just happened to look back exactly where you can see across the street through the trees and buildings. As I turned back around, I had to remind myself, yes, it's still there Kathleen. It's not going anywhere. For a long long time. This is your new normal, seeing piles of rubble where houses and churches and businesses used to be. I know my town will never be the same but it will come back and it will be a new normal. I think change is sometimes very hard to swallow though :(
Please continue to pray for my Tuscaloosa. And please pray for those affected by yesterday's tornadoes. My heart breaks knowing they Are going through our nightmare.