Crossroads (Thoughts after the Tornado)

If you live in the US, you are most likely aware of the devastating tornados that struck the central part of the country last night. Oklahoma was the first target of these storms resulting in several deaths. Arkansas was the second hit. The area destroyed is less than 50 miles from our home. The huge tornado that struck Mayflower and Vilonia was being chased by a trusted storm tracker who reported that he saw the beast begin to form just west of Hot Springs. Thankfully, it did not settle down here.

It saddens me to report that the storm killed a reported 16 persons in the affected area. Many are still missing and/or injured. Please pray for those who lost everything. I can’t imagine the emotions they must be feeling.

Strangely, this tornado struck Vilonia exactly 3 years and 2 days after another tornado destroyed the same community. Some of those who are affected had just recently rebuilt from the previous storm. “Heartbroken” cannot begin to express the way they must feel as they travel down a path they thought long past.

Paths and trails are sometimes like that. They meander through a rough terrain and eventually cross themselves. We come to a crossroad and must make a choice to go right or left. We look for some sort of sign. We examine the traffic patterns. We may even pray for direction. We finally make a choice and turn. The trail may lead us to very interesting viewpoints. We may discover interesting plants and animals. We may stop and smell the wild roses, but as we journey forward, we become aware that we have seen some of this before. Then we come to a crossroad.

We look around us and things look very familiar. We look down and see footprints in the soil … and realize they are ours. Our trail twisted and turned and crossed itself. Now we have a choice. We can become angry that we took the wrong turn and wasted a lot of time … or we can rejoice in the vistas we discovered, the animals we saw, the flowers we smelled, and rejoice that we are alive as we head down the other direction on the trail.

Returning to a crossroad such as the Vilonians have come to can be extremely painful, as can recurring illness, painful life experiences, and failure. We face difficult choices.

One choice steals the joy we had, the joy we carried in our hearts to this point, the joy we can carry into the next part of the journey. The other lifts our spirits and causes us to be even more aware of the beauty, the excitement, and the discoveries that lay ahead. The options are ours. We decide which we will select.

Perhaps you are at that crossroad for the first time. Enjoy the trip no matter which way you go. You may be one who stands at the crossroad for a second time. Choose wisely, my friends. Your physical, emotional, and spiritual health is at stake. Choose wisely.

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