It happened during our tiny tornado that passed over us and never did a bit of damage except for felling one oak tree in the woods.
We were ready. We have a basement and I was about to suggest we go there, except the amazing display of the skies held me entranced. There was no funnel cloud, just incredible force.
Think: Can you move a tree? Even a small tree, such as an apple, is difficult to shake, even when we desperately want those apples. Yet, huge trees, with branches as large as some tree trunks, were swaying as if they were grass, as if they were dancing. Do they like tornadoes? Do they love the chance to sway like the grass? It seemed it.
Yet, reality kept me in check: Water was leaking under the front storm door, impossible except during tornadoes. As I fetched a couple of old towels from the laundry room, to protect our living room floor, I heard the honking of an automobile through the exterior door. I heard the wild, mad, honking of someone desperate.
My husband had the sense to open the door, exactly at the moment the banging began. There stood a rain-drenched woman, blonde and petite.
“Oh, PLEASE let me come into your house! Please let me come in!” she begged, trembling all over and almost jumping in the door once we opened it.
Who could deny such a request at such a time?
So it was that she stood just inside the laundry room, dripping, running, water all over the tiles. She blessed us, thanked us, and blessed us again. And I stood, dumbly, astonished, with two towels in my hands, finally thinking to thrust them at her. She began drying herself as if she were a family member. Mentally, I remembered the flooding front door, and I remembered the Scriptures: do not neglect entertaining strangers, for thereby, some have entertained angels, unaware… (Or something like it–that was how I was remembering it.)
As if she were an angel, we encouraged her to come inside the rest of the house. We anticipated a black-out and wanted her where we could seat her if darkness made our unfamiliar house a hazard to her. We offered her more towels and a drink. We showed her the astonishing view outside our front door, as more storm flew over us. We apologized as we needed to tend to that water coming in with more towels.
She, feeling SO at home, asked to borrow a phone. She told her mother she was okay, but would be late. We chatted. The storm passed.
Then she apologized: She usually drives through a storm unafraid, she said, but this one was like NOTHING she had ever seen before. We assured her we felt the same and she was extremely wise not to drive in such wind with the ground so saturated that trees might fall across her path, or even on her car. She thanked us profusely and promised to bring us a cake. We told her we would love a cake, but she owed us nothing.
Then she left for where she belonged, and, just like that, this golden moment of people helping people was over.
I miss it.
Storm Clouds (Photo credit: mcdett)