American Christian Fiction Writers, I was happy to accept. I'd spoken previously to WIN (Writers of Inspirational Novels), and figured the four hour drive to Tulsa would be worth the effort. When I was first getting started in writing, I learned a great deal by listening to other authors. This was my opportunity to give back.
As the time approached, Kay and I began watching the weather more closely. Tornadoes had already struck near us in Texas, and more recently in Oklahoma. Now they were threatening the particular area of Oklahoma into which we were driving. Should I cancel? I've been a program chairman for a number of events, and I knew the problems a last-minute cancellation could cause. I decided to make the drive.
As we sat in our motel room in Tulsa, every local TV station was showing the same thing--radar images interspersed with video that showed an inexorable march of tornadoes across the area in and around Oklahoma City. Fortunately, when the storms approached Tulsa, they split like the Red Sea under the hand of God and went around us.
The talk the next day went well, but I kept thinking as we drove back home how this bunch of tornadoes seemed somehow more real to me than those that devastated communities near us in North Texas. I decided that the answer lay in the fact that as we watched and waited, we weren't at home, amid familiar surroundings. And that led me to pray even harder for those whose lives had been disrupted by the loss of things that represented "home" to them.
Sometimes we take our safety and shelter for granted. After this past weekend, I'm not sure I will again.
(photo via FreeDigitalPhotos.net)