The Visitation

How I dreaded the “visitation.”  Having to see my father’s dead body.  Having to meet and greet well-wishers while being in a highly emotional state.   What a horrible ordeal this is going to be, I thought.  And yet, the visitation on Thursday night was strangely healing.  I’m not sure why, but it was.  I do have some ideas, though. [Read more...]

Two kinds of funerals

Funerals being on my mind lately, I offer you an essay I wrote that was published in  Table Talk.  It is entitled “A Tale of Two Funerals.” [Read more...]

Making the arrangements

My heart isn’t in blogging today.  I’m certainly not in the mood to complain about the culture, worry about politics, or pick theological arguments.  Death gives a different kind of perspective, an eternal perspective, that, for all its hurt, is  healthy for me to consider. With my mother, my brother, and my sister, we have been “making arrangements” for my father’s funeral Friday.  [Read more...]

God in the whirlwind–and a personal interruption

Well, in our travels, we went through Moore, seeing the devastation that was truly awful–in the sense of both “terrible” and in the older sense of “awe-inspiring.”   A whole swathe of the city, marking the twister’s path, just obliterated, with houses, businesses, and other structures reduced to unrecognizable piles of debris.  Coming back, we went by a forested region outside of town, the trees just knocked over and thrown about like toys.

We didn’t see our two sets of relatives by marriage who lost their homes.  They were at work when the tornado struck (a major reason the loss of life was relatively small being that most people in the neighborhoods where it hit the hardest weren’t at home at that time of day).  They came back to find their homes blown down to the foundations.  We were told that they are feeling philosophical about it all. [Read more...]

Memorials

Have a happy, but thoughtful Memorial Day.  I know it’s mainly become just the beginning of the summer holidays, the first bratwurst of summer (in the words of Those Darned Accordians).  Enjoy that part of it, but the holiday was started as a commemoration of the war dead.  It’s been extended for many people as a day to remember all of the dead, to decorate graves and to reflect on the memory of family members and other loved ones who have died.  It so happens that for the first time in a long, long time, we are close by the cemetery where generations of my family members have been buried.  We loaded up with flowers and are going to participate in that custom of adorning the graves.  I’m really looking forward to that.  We too may end up in that cemetery some day.  I guess I’ve gotten to the age where that thought really doesn’t bother me anymore.  It’s going to be very meaningful.

At any rate, as we have done before on this blog, use this space to write a memorial to someone you would like to remember on this day.

 

Tornado destroys Moore, OK. Again.

Growing up in Oklahoma, in tornado alley, I remember hearing that tornadoes, like lightning, never strike the same place twice.  Well, that’s not true.  In 1999, Moore, Oklahoma–a big suburb between Oklahoma City and Norman–was struck by a monster tornado, an F-5, one so big scientists had to alter the scale, killing 44 people and wiping out a big swathe of the city. (I happened to be there a couple of days later and saw houses, shopping centers, and office buildings reduced to piles of garbage.)  But Moore rebuilt.

Yesterday, Moore was hit again by another huge tornado that might have been even worse.  The funnel at the top was two miles across and killed over 50 people (a toll that will likely go higher).  I know two families in Moore, relatives by marriage of my wife.  We got word that both of them lost their homes.

We’re on the road and should be driving through what’s left of Moore later this week.

UPDATE:  Now they are saying 24 were killed, rather than the larger numbers released before.  See this.

Huge tornado levels Oklahoma City suburb, killing dozens – The Washington Post.


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