It was an absolutely beautiful day in Wisconsin today. The sun was shining its warmth on us and there was a solid breeze from the south to keep things feeling toasty. Literally. Today brought a warmth to the soul that breeds joy from the heart. That is, until I realized how awful a hand of weather was being dealt a few states to our south.
Tornadoes tore through Kansas and Oklahoma today, leaving whole neighborhoods in their wake. The latest reports are confirming casualties at an elementary school in Oklahoma City. Precious little people who were going about their day learning their multiplication tables and how to write haiku poetry. Gone. Lives are changed forever, ripped apart by mother nature. All of this on a day that seemed pretty close to perfect in my little part of the world.
I generally make a point of avoiding disturbing news, but today I find value in a moment’s paws to reflect. The physical devastation left behind by these tornadoes is apparent, but what’s less visible is the emotional wounds that have yet to seem real to those affected. Houses can be rebuilt, streets reconstructed, building facades altered, but you can’t bring back the precious lives lost today. This is where real devastation resides.
While I don’t condone living in constant fear of the unknown, my reflections today have led me to count my blessings. Among them are many valuables that can be easily replaced, as well as two that are absolutely priceless to me. My forever mom and dad. My family. Losing one of them would be like trying to function without the ability to see or hear or taste. I know when a sense is lost, the others generally pick up the slack, but I don’t think my increased love for the one left behind would ever be enough. Together they are ultimately more special to me than everything we have, including the roof over our heads and the endless supply of dog food in my doggie bowl.
The tally of precious lives lost today has not even been finalized yet. And it goes without saying that while the sun was shining in Wisconsin today, a cloud of grief remains. Today was not such a beautiful day for a lot of people. And no insurance policy can bring them back. But I know in my little doggie heart those lost will live on through their loved ones. I remembered this today as I counted my blessings, and among them was a fortune not made up of dollars and cents. My family is my fortune. No tornado can take that away.