"If the wind starts blowing, you'd better go to the basement." Ok, Dad. I hopped out of the car and hurried into the church to get a few hours of organ practice before the evening service. As we drove the few miles to our country church, his gaze frequently drifted from the bumpy gravel road to the ugly black southern sky. It was tornado season in northwest Iowa which demanded watchfulness, preparation, and common sense. Heel, toe, left foot; more volume with the right. "Under His wings, who from His love can sever!" Add flute 4. Ah, that's better.
The wind hit the church like a giant wrecking ball, extinguishing the lights and music. With Dad's voice echoing in my ears, I raced down the stairs as fast as my scrawny legs would carry me. The gleaming floors of the main hall reflected the eerie yellow light oozing from the windows. Safety was the dark corner of the library, the tornado room. The church clung to its foundation as I sank onto the hard floor and pushed my back into the immobile cinderblocks. The cool of the linoleum permeated my bare feet. My shoes! They were sitting next to the organ, my only good pair.
I drew my knees to my chest and rested my head on them. "The Lord is my Shepherd ... even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will not be afraid." Dad told us we never had to be afraid. God was always with us. Many years later when they told him the cancer had gone into his bones, he was not afraid, just sad that he would be leaving us soon.
Huddled in that dark corner, I was not afraid as the horrible wind and waves of rain pounded the walls above me. Then I heard Dad call my name in a tone that I had never heard and would never again hear -- raw terror. I leaped from my hiding place, calling back to him. He was soaking wet after running the last quarter-mile to the church; smashed bleachers from the softball field and trees littered the road. He smiled, "Where are your shoes?"
The sturdy wooden church stood unscathed and a little lack of electricity did not cancel evening services. As the summer sun faded, we raised our voices in thanksgiving and gratitude, "Under His wings, my soul shall abide, safely abide forever!"
-- Norene Buschbach, Pasco