Saturday, December 18, 2010

Stormy Days ~ Part Three

The next morning when we got up and looked outside things looked even worse than they had in the dark the previous night.

Right after breakfast Daddy hitched our horse to our three seated buggy and we all went to see just how bad the damage was through out the community.

We stopped at our neighbors who had lost their homes and offered to come help with the clean up. Going on we couldn't help but feel sickened at all the devastation every where we looked. Barns and houses totally destroyed and dead animals strewn across fields. The town of Salisbury looked absolutely hopeless. Friends and neighbors all moving around in shock at their loss. The tornado had also hit the home of my best friend Rachel.*

Mom and Daddy made that I could go see her. When I arrived I was glad to see their house was still standing though it had shifted off it's foundation. Their barn and out buildings had not fared as well and already a lot of people were there starting to clean up. They had one of the area's biggest sugar camps but their woods that used to be filled with grand old sugar maple trees were now flattened in a twisted mess.

Rachel and I found a quiet spot where we could talk uninterrupted. She was feeling awful thinking that the tornado had been all her fault and everyone was suffering because of her. She had been ready to break up with her boyfriend Levi* just as the tornado hit, and took it as a sign from God that she was not supposed to dump the jerk.

I tried to tell her how silly it was to try to take the blame for the tornado but she was not convinced it wasn't her fault and felt despaired at the thought of having to live the rest of her life with Levi. We talked for a while longer and then the driver came by and it was time for me to leave. I wished I would know what to say to make Rachel feel better but I couldn't think of anything.

To be continued
*Names changed to protect idenity.


  1. This is such an awful feeling seeing devastation and wanting to do everything possible but feeling as though your hands are tied and yet, sometimes the best help we can give is a listening ear. You were there for your friend - that's what mattered at the time. When there was lots of flooding in the Midwest a few years ago, it was AWFUL driving down highways and just seeing rooftops sticking out. Plus everything was so quiet ~ very eerie. I'm looking forward to the rest of the story...

  2. Thank you for posting another installment so soon. Interesting the almost superstitious belief of 'Rachel' at that time of having caused the tornado. As a psychologist, I have had many a person thank me for helping them, when sometimes "all" I had done was listen in respect to their thoughts & feelings. That's what you did--which is one of the highest forms of showing love in a friendship--even if you felt helpless & inadequate while doing so.

  3. Thank you so much. I am really enjoying your stories and look forward to them so much.

  4. I'm not sure if it is very foolish or very vain of Rachel to think God would punish hundreds of people because of something SHE did. God doesn't work that way. We are given free choice, and He doesn't force us to act as He wishes. If we do, fine; if we don't, it's never too late to change things - He'll wait.

    The Bible tells us that marriage is supposed to be a reflection of God's relationship with His people. Marrying a "jerk" is not a Godly thing to do.

  5. Rai, a drop of golden sun :)Sun Dec 19, 07:08:00 PM 2010

    I am another fairly new reader who found out about your blog courtesy of the NY Times.
    I absolutely love your stories; they are beautiful and fascinating. Thank you for sharing your lovely, open-hearted and positive perspective and answering so many questions I have never had a chance or a respectful way to ask about the life of the Amish.

    Poor Rachel! I hope she didn't really end up spending her life with the jerk just because of the tornado.
    And I hope your ankle healed all right. I have a bad one myself that didn't get the doctoring it needed. I "wasn't going to have" a broken ankle either. (I love you saying that!)

    It is always a treat to see something new on A Joyful Chaos. I wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas, Mary Ann.

  6. Oh, I can feel this coming... the life I could have lived, had I not left the community and my boyfriend at the same time. Amish women can feel so trapped in an unhappy marriage... I can attest to that with my mother.

    I hope there is a happier outcome for your friend.


  7. Oh no, please tell me she didn't go through with it...


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