Tornadoes and Peace

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With the rash of tornadoes happening recently, our hearts and prayers go out to the many who not only lost their homes, but their lives. We have always kept our children from watching the nightly news, as so many ‘news worthy’ stories, I fear, would give too many nightmares to my little ones. At times, even for myself, watching the news can keep me up at night, frantically imagining what I’d do as a mother if I found myself in one of the many news stories I’ve seen over the years.

And I get it. News agencies have a way to keep us coming back for more. Stay tuned for the latest on this court case, or weather pattern or developments in a particular story. We can’t miss it! It’s how they generate their revenue, that we keep coming back, to watch the many commercials interspersed with ‘real’ news. I get it. I don’t like it. After watching news show after news show, I find myself joining in the panic that surrounds their voices, their story telling, their own compelling news.

I do think it’s important to know what’s going on, but there has to be some kind of balance. I find that I take news information much better if I read it, whether a newspaper or online. I find the information that I need to know for my family’s sake, mostly without needing to use my clicker to find news. I found a certain peace this way. How I was frustrated at the news agencies for stealing my peace, and so often!

Some stories are simply unnecessary, some frustrating, some infuriating and others heartbreaking. To see the footage of natural disasters is difficult to watch, to imagine scores of people frantic, hopeless, alone, hurt or buried under the rubble that was their home. In a sense we need to see people’s heartache in order to keep our compassion alive, our empathy ready in order to act.

Overall, we must find balance. Over the weekend our pastor gave us a homily that I wanted to literally stand up and clap for. He insisted that Christ in the Eucharist gives us Peace, and we are meant to be Ambassadors of that Peace for others. We must allow Christ to work, we must get out of the way, and allow that Peace to find us, to keep us, and to help others. If we lose it, (it being Christ’s Peace or our calm), we only contribute to the frantic-ness, the confusion and the inability to find solution.

Now, this is not new information. But in light of the recent disasters, it makes all the sense in the world right now. I watched a YouTube video where a group of people were enduring a tornado in the back of a grocery store. Right when the tornado was on top of them, they rushed to a walk in cooler for safety.

There was no visual, really to speak of, only audio. And. It was disturbing to listen to. You hear the franticness of men and women and yes, children. You hear calm voices as well, seemingly to bring the Peace of Christ to a chaotic, potentially fatal situation. The calm voices were directing people to safety. And as a listener, in the safety and security of my own home, I had a sense God was there, with them…through those calm individuals who in all seriousness, can be called Heroes.

We, as mothers, can lose it from time to time. I call it “Ugly Mom”, and I’ve been there. With five kids, trust me, I’ve been there. I work meticulously to keep it under wraps. Sometimes I manage it. Sometimes I don’t. I can see myself in swirls of tornadic activity in my very own kitchen, when life is out of sorts and I just can’t hear, “Mommy” one. More. Time.

Mom to Mom, we too can be those kind of heroes, when an uncontrollable rush of wind is about to knock us over. We’re about to lose it. In those moments, especially in those precious few moments, take a deep breath, step back, into another room, step outside. Say a Hail Mary, and fervently beg for Christ’s Eucharistic Peace to calm your mind and spirit. I do it myself. It’s a wonder like no other. He’s there for us in our strongest and weakest moments. When chaos abounds, He’s there, waiting for us to use the gift of His Peace, sometimes, we just have to get out of the way.

Copyright 2011 Sahmatwork

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1 Comment

  1. Thanks for this important reminder. As for news, I find myself watching and most tuned in to the firsthand accounts of pain and suffering. For its ability to convey those stories that move us beyond inaction, the television news — when not exploiting tragedies — can be a true help. It’s probably also why I’ve been so attracted to social media accounts of the devastation and what we can do to help the families who are suffering at this time. Thanks for a great column!

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