Preparing for the storms of life

As a girl in northern New York, I had a strangely-warped sense of the geography of the United States. In the first place, I knew more about eastern Canada than my own country.
My perception of the U.S. map was that after New York came Ohio. Then came Indiana, where Goshen College was–the college I would attend when I grew up.
Way out west was Kansas that had another potential college–Hesston College. And after Kansas came California and the Pacific Ocean.
When I grew up, I went to Goshen College as expected. Then after getting married, we moved to Edmonton, Alta. in western Canada—bypassing Kansas completely.
So when my husband took a position at Bethel College in Kansas 50 years ago, I was shocked when our friends in Edmonton said, “[The] Sniders are moving east to Kansas.”
How could anyone possibly move east to Kansas!
Another thing that surprised me was what my four-year-old son’s Sunday School teacher told me. My son’s little friend, Corrine, had lamented, “Poor Conrad is moving to Kansas and he’ll have to stay in the basement all the time.”
Fortunately, when we first moved to Kansas, we lived in the house of a faculty member who was on sabbatical in Japan, and the house had a sturdy tornado shelter in the basement.
Although we lived in that house for three years, we never had to use the shelter. And my son could play outside any time he chose!
But Corrine’s dire forecast almost came true two weeks ago. Weather announcers had been warning us of the high risk of tornadoes for the days ahead. And on Tuesday, April 26, we had a TORCON of 7 (that means there was a 70 percent chance of a tornado within a 50-mile radius).
That’s way too close for comfort! And so everyone was on alert.
Schools shut down early. After-school activities were cancelled. Basketball games were postponed. Offices closed. And one university cancelled classes for the day.
It was time to hunker down.
People put their computers, cameras, photo albums, and other valuables in the basement. They stocked their shelters with fresh water and snacks, making sure they had sturdy shoes, warm coats, and identification cards—three important things needed after a tornado because it’s cold and there’s glass everywhere.
And if you are injured, it’s very important to have ID.
The ominous day peaked at 4 p.m. when it was dark as night. But fortunately the sirens never sounded. Hail damage was widespread and high rains caused flooding, but no tornadoes–at least for us.
What a relief!
There’s a lot to be learned from a physical storm about the storms of life. The same principles apply: 1). Prepare very well. 2). Don’t worry. Live in the moment. Hopefully, the worst won’t happen.
And 3). After the storm–even if the worst does happen–pick up the pieces and decide what you have to do next.
What a wonderful lesson for the daily storms of life. We can go on, no matter what!
Marie Snider is an award-winning health writer and syndicated columnist. Write her at