I slowly drift back into consciousness, fighting it all the way. I was in a deep sleep, and I had been content under the heavy blanket of unconsciousness. My tired, bleary half-awake mind struggles to figure out why I'm waking up.
And then I hear it. The sound I heard every first Monday of the month growing up. The sound which, as children trains us to crouch on the ground in the hallway, squashed next to our classmate, our hands folded over our heads. I leap out of bed and stumble out of my bedroom door to find my roommate on the living room couch, clutching a blanket around her, her eyes glued to the television. Sure enough, it's the weatherman, and he's talking about Branson. My heart practically jumps to my throat when I see the line of storm on the radar, all of it deep red and heading right for us.
Roommate and I were lucky. Extremely lucky. The tornado completely missed our part of town. We didn't even lose power, unlike the majority of Branson. We hid in a bathroom for fifteen minutes during some scary wind, and then I went back to sleep.
The first thing I did in the morning was contact my parents, who had heard about the storms, but had not heard from me. I can't imagine how worried they were.
The second thing I did was call work. I wasn't sure I had a job to go to. I'd heard that the Hilton Convention Center, which is right across the street from my Starbucks, sustained some serious damage.
The Hilton wasn't the only business damaged. Several hotels, restaurants and theatres in town were badly damaged, some completely destroyed.
Tourist season begins to pick up in March. So many people will be out of much-needed seasonal work.
I am so lucky.
My home and car are unscathed. My place of work is undamaged. I still have a job to go to.
And I'm so thankful. I'm so thankful that God kept me safe and was looking out for me.
But what about the others? What about the people whose homes were damaged? Who are now out of a job?
Storms like this never cease to amaze me, how entire buildings can be wiped out right across the street from buildings which are left untouched.
Pray for Branson, friends; everyone here would benefit from a speedy recovery from this storm. But not just here. Pray for all the victims of the terrible storm system that hit us. It left a lot of damage in its wake. While you're at it, say a prayer of thanks for your home and your health and safety.
I know I am.