I pray for the strength, Lord

Dateline:  The Storms

Tell me,

when the earth turns against us,

where do we hide?

Tell me,

we say, “things are replaceable,”

but tell me please,

how do I replace my Grandma’s rosary?

Gram prayed on it when I was a baby and was very sick, hung it over my bed where it has been for 63 years,

now stolen by the wind.

Tell me.

To those in the Northeast, the West, the Northwest, the South around me has been sliced with a swath of destruction.

Towns are in ruins.

Homes are shambles.

Memories lost to the wind.

To those of you who don’t live here, know this, I am a born and bred YANKEE and I was sent down here to “cover” this sport, cover it as an outsider, look and write, observe, not interact.

But the folks of the South have become family. If all you know about them is how you see them mocked on some sort of Reality TV show, you don’t know them at all.

They are hardworking, very religious, family-oriented folks who not only accepted but embraced a long haired hippie reporter from up North.

But they live with a demon.

I have huddled with them in shelters, I have ran with them as sirens blared, I have seen their clothes hanging from trees, I have seen their boats on roofs, I have seen their roofs in parking lots.

They have taken me to their homes where only the front steps remained.

And when I fall apart looking at what’s in front of me, they are the ones who hug me.

Tell me,

how I get their strength Lord.

Late yesterday, and throughout the night as tornadoes tore through Arkansas, the family of the B.A.S.S. Elite came alive.

Text messages about the Shorts, about the McCaghrens, Mark Davis and his family, the Brownings… what about the Chapmans? Are the tornadoes heading their way?

In the middle of the night, Rick Pierce, the owner of BassCat boats, is texting me asking about Kevin and Kerry Short.

Elite angler Billy McCaghren tells me his family is okay but, “db, I don’t know how I can go on and practice today when me heart is back home with the Shorts and my friends.”

Norma McCaghren, who has had to leave her home and stay with relatives, leaves a message on my phone asking me to “please tell people to pray for the people here. It’s been torn up,” and then says she is going to try to make her way to the Shorts to help them.

In Oklahoma, retired Elite angler/Bassmaster champion Ken Cook and his wife Tammy are packing their camper and also heading to help out the Shorts and anyone else who needs it.

And then there is this, my best friend on the tour, Kevin Short, stands in front of his destroyed home and asks not for help for him and his family but, “send money to food banks to help all the people that need it now.”

Tell me, how do I get their strength, Lord?

I pray Lord,

for the strength.

Pray that these great folks have the strength to stand up to the wind.

Faith, I think, is the ability to believe in the unbelievable. Faith is the ability to believe in right, when all is wrong around you.

Faith is the ability to kneel in the ruins, and pray.

You who are not here will soon see photos of the American Flag flying above the destruction, but what you won’t see are the thousands of heads bowed in prayer.

I pray Lord,

that you protect these folks,

from an angry Earth.

I pray Lord,

that your hand has placed miracles,

in the ruins.

I pray Lord,

that I have the strength,

of the people,

that I no longer just cover,

but love.

I pray Lord,

please spare them,

please help them,

please,

protect them.

“God grant me the serenity

To accept the things I cannot change”

Amen,

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