I’ve been reading, thinking and praying a lot about the horrifying tornadoes in the South. I saw one video and a bunch of pictures and I’m just dumbfounded. I felt the same way about Japan in March. Events like these are almost impossible to talk about, to comment on in a forum as trivial as a blog. It’s just too big.

In both instances, I sat there at my computer, watching video and just throwing my hands over my mouth in disbelief. I watched one video of the tsunami hitting Sendai in Miyagi Prefecture and tried desperately to wrap my brain around what I was seeing. Unstoppable water far as the eye could see just KEPT COMING. Carrying huge boats, parts of buildings, sections on FIRE. I’d watch it approach a more elevated area and think, “Okay, now it’ll calm down” and just freak out as it swirled up and up and up and just KEPT GOING.

I saw another video of the tsunami hitting a coastal town, black water just overflowing the banks so fast I couldn’t believe it. Clearing the banks, overtaking the roadway like nothing, pushing huge trucks and vans in the current like little paper boats, bouncing off each other and anything else in their path like some sort of bumper boat game. Seeing huge fishing boats careen into bridges and fold like toothpicks. Watching BOATS take out houses and large buildings as they plow through neighborhoods and down CITY STREETS, for crying out loud.

Cut to last week and hearing that lots of bad tornadic activity in Alabama, specifically. Having spent my whole life in Illinois, I’ve experienced my fair share of tornado watches & warnings over the past 40+ years. I’ve been in a couple and certainly heard enough sirens go off and hid in the bathroom/basement quite a few times. So, when I hear that an area is having bad tornadic activity, I usually don’t pay a ton of attention to it. While they’re always bad, they’re not always TRAGIC.

I could not believe my eyes when I saw the video of Tuscaloosa. I have never seen, nor imagined, a tornado ripping through a large city. We live about 60 miles from Chicago and anytime there’s a storm like that here, it always dies out or changes course before it gets to Chicago proper. I think Plainfield was the closest one has ever gotten to the city. So the thought of a tornado of that caliber ripping through such a densely populated area is more than my little brain can handle. I mean, the thing was over A MILE WIDE. What in the world??

Now we see the aftermath. And it is, again, mind-boggling. I see it and it doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t seem real. I cannot imagine what these people are going through. I mean, one minute you’re getting ready for bed or watching TV or doing some sort of dull, everyday thing and all of sudden everything you have, everything you know, everything you see is just destroyed. I can’t even comment on the loss of life because that is too big to contemplate.

How does a person, a family cope with something like this? How do you watch your life go up in smoke and move on from that? How do you wake up and see your neighborhood just GONE and wrap your head around it? I read a post by a person from that area and it just shot through and gutted me:

quizzicalsphinx: The place where I bought the little tin stars for the living room is not there. I was going back there after payday to buy a little iron cat for a doorstop. No more little iron cats. No more little shops where they know you. No more people you see everyday. The laundry you go to on Saturday is a pile of bricks and people are pawing through the bricks for quarters. The route I took to school is blocked off with Humvees. We had a neighbour who used to trade food and recipes with my husband. She moved out at the end of last month to a house on Thirteenth Street. There is no Thirteenth Street. I saw three dead bodies in a three-block walk. They were just out there. No way of getting to them. Nobody coming for them. People are walking in front of my doorway, day and night, with their children in grocery carts, looking for the next shelter. I ended up giving the sandals I was wearing to a woman who had been walking shoeless for two days. The storm caught her in bed. All she had was a housecoat. I keep saying this, but it doesn’t get it across. There is nothing outside my front door anymore.

Did you read that? There is NOTHING outside their front door anymore. How does that HAPPEN? Just…..what the hell? I don’t even know how to process that. There’s no way to make that make sense. You read and see this stuff and you want to DO something, but anything that is actually, physically possible to do seems so useless.

I was thinking about that back in March after Japan happened. Hearing the reports of radiation poisoning and food being scarce because of the radiation issues and all I could think was that companies like ADM and Monsanto need to step up and just send food over there. They need food they can eat without DYING and companies like these need to just pack up some ships or planes and just do it. Same thing with what’s happening in the South. I think it’s fantastic and great that individuals feel called to give and do and help, I just also think that corporations need to step up and do it, too. Just give. Just do. Y’know, I talked a little while ago about being Jesus for people. This is a fantastic opportunity.

CBS42 has a list of ways to donate water, non-perishable food items, clothing, etc., for people who are within driving distance.

AL.com has more ways for people who are in the region to help.

If you want to volunteer, call the United Way at 211.

You can donate to the Alabama Red Cross. Or even the regular Red Cross. There’s also the Salvation Army and the Alabama Governor’s Emergency Relief Fund

There is also a link to many ways you can help here:

Stuff to send to Alabama.

A couple things you should know: They are looking most for money, bottled water, and non-perishable food items, flashlights, batteries, hand sanitizer, as well as gift cards to stores like Wal-Mart, Lowes, and other big chain stores that are located in the area.

Think about it. Give if you can. Let’s be Jesus for each other.