Above the Storm Clouds

I was saddened to see the utter destruction wrought by tornadoes in Oklahoma earlier this week. A whole town was completely obliterated by a mile-wide tornado that touched down with wind speed of more than 200 miles per hour. Several lives were lost, and thousands of homes and properties destroyed. My thoughts and prayers goes to all who were affected.

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Moore, Oklahoma (photo from news4jax.com)

We were in Philadelphia when all these violent storms happened. When we arrived here in Iowa, I learned from our friends that we did had some bad storms in our area also. In fact, my friend said that during his daughter’s dance recital a few days ago, it was temporary interrupted for several minutes, when they announced a tornado warning. Though they were not forced to evacuate into a storm shelter.

We were just glad to come home and see that our home and our trees (including our  leaning tree), as well as our whole neighborhood to be still standing. But violent weather, including tornadoes, is a fact of life here in the midwest. Even the local university’s football team has a name that bears it, the Iowa State Cyclones.

Schools, offices and even hospitals have required drills, to be prepared in case a tornado hit. Just recently about two weeks ago, in the hospital where I work, we had a tornado drill. Although many people, and that includes me, did not take it too seriously when it was announced overhead, and acted nonchalantly as we know it was just a drill. But what if it’s not just a drill anymore? Will we survive?

When we were flying from Philadelphia back here to our home in Iowa, we have probably flew over places where the strong storms had passed and wreak havoc on their path. But one reality strikes me. A different perspective if you will. That is, it is always sunny above the clouds.

Storms, not just atmospheric, are facts of this life. Some may be extremely violent. Sometimes we will be hit by theses realities. And you may be experiencing one right now. But they too will pass. Let us just hold on tight and weather these storms of life. For it is always sunny above those dark clouds.

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photo taken at 33,000 feet

Against the Wind

Our weather had been crazy lately. One day it was spring, with cool, crisp temperature in the 50’s F. Then came summer, hot and in the 80’s F. Then back to winter with cold winds at 30’s F with lots of snow in the forecast. And all of that in a stretch of few days. That’s Iowa weather for you.

When there’s wild swings in the temperature with warm and cold air colliding, this causes unstable condition, and sudden thunder storms, or hailstorms, or even tornadoes can erupt. In fact, few days ago, some parts of Iowa had storms with ping-pong-size hail. Good thing no tornadoes have developed, yet (emphasis on the yet).

Yesterday, I went out for a morning run. It was really windy, with steady winds of about 30-35 miles per hour, with occasional gusts nearing 40 miles per hour. That was not considered a storm still. It was just a normal Iowa windy day. (A strong tropical storm has sustained winds of 39-73 miles/hour; 74 miles/hour or more, then it is considered a hurricane; while tornadoes can reach a wind speed of more than 300 miles/hour.)

While I was running inside our housing community, I did not feel the gusting winds right away, as the trees and houses blocked some of it. However when I went out to the lonely dirt road that was part of my running route, I experienced then the full effects of the wind force. The dirt road was in the vast open, with miles and miles of empty (still early for planting) corn fields, with nothing to block the gales.

It was bad enough that I was running against the wind, but the worst part was that the strong gust was causing dust clouds. I thought of turning back, but that will be a longer way to go, so I decided to move on.

It was not easy running against the wind, I can tell you that. That 1-mile stretch of dirt road that I usually cover in 10 minutes, took me forever to run. At least that’s how long it felt. But I made it through.

In life, sometimes we feel that we are running against the wind. There will be opposition that will slow us down. They will blow dust in our face. And sometimes adversaries may even completely stop us in our tracks.

We cannot choose the direction of the wind. We can only choose the direction where we want to go. And that means, sometimes we need to run against the wind.