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.
The other night we were sitting together in our daughters bedroom with them just before bedtime. We read an old familiar classic, Home for A Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown with illustrations by Garth Williams. It’s as kindhearted a book in both words and illustrations as I have ever read to the kids and it gives me a great opportunity to try out my animal voices – from singing baby birds to a grumpy old frog – in the narration.
It is an easy read, lasts only a few minutes, and it’s large in size for my end-of-the-day-40-something year old tired eyes.
As a matter of fact we were all tired that night. Little stresses had hounded each one of us throughout that particular day and so the atmosphere of the room was weary and anxious and impatient…until we began to read. A page in, the harshness of the world thawed a bit and we began to feel closer to home and each other once again.
Books as medicine for the soul, you say? Good point. Maybe so. It sure worked for that bunny.
Our 14-year old and her friend Britni were talking in the backseat of our car the other night. We were on our way to eat pizza and the conversation between them was lively and loud and funny, especially after it turned to the subject of “inconsiderate beasts.”
You read that right…inconsiderate beasts. What a phrase! I loved it from the moment Britni told us its meaning. She said that anytime she encounters a particularly rude person she thinks of them as “inconsiderate beasts.”
When she said those words together it immediately struck me as interesting and one of the best phrases I’ve heard that describes, well, inconsiderate beasts…these people with whom we work and play that have no consideration for anyone but themselves.
It reminds me of how important it is to make our home a “No Inconsiderate Beasts Allowed” kind of home. Everything we say and do has consequences among the people who live under our roof.
Where there is grace and patience and kindness and care and help and a humble respect, there are no inconsiderate beasts.
It is a place where home can be a refuge.
It is a place where home can be a home.
It is a place where there are no “inconsiderate beasts.”