Riding Out the Storms


In our part of the world, tornadoes are so common that we have an underground storm shelter. It is a small concrete bunker of sorts, sparsely furnished with a few folding chairs, a gallon of fresh water and an old radio, all lit by a single bare lightbulb. It is clean and even a bit cozy and has brought our family close, and I do mean close, together when the need to enter it arises.

We have had the shelter for about five years and have had to use it maybe five or six times, all thankfully false alarms but all necessary in the moment…and always in the middle of the night.

The storm alarm sounds and we awake to our separate tasks – my wife gathers the bag of little items we might need while I go to each of the children’s rooms to awaken them and gather them up (along with stuffed animals and iPods, books, glasses, robes and rain boots). We meet at the end of the long hallway that leads to the nearest back door to the shelter. We gather under umbrellas and turn on flashlights and slosh our way through puddles of rain and finally enter that very simple place of safety.

It means the world to have it; it settles our fears and quells our anxieties. We sit and we wait and talk and listen and wait. And because it’s a very small space, we sit close beside each other while we wait and talk and listen and wait.

We ride out the storm together.

And that right there makes me think: No wonder they say that there is no place like home.

We ride out the storms…together.