Good Zeal

Helicopters and honeysuckle

In these post-tornado days, the sound of helicopters and the scent of honeysuckle have been my steady companions as I have trod the monastery grounds gathering tornado debris. The helicopters are recurring reminders of the destruction the tornado brought to our small city. The honeysuckle, though, is a reminder of the sweetness that remains. And there has been sweetness in the midst of these difficult days – the generosity of neighbors providing hot showers and washing machines to those still without power, the camaraderie of Wi-Fi-users sharing tables and power outlets at local businesses, the passing of cell phones from hand to hand with landline service still disrupted, the sharing of food and shelter, neighbors helping neighbors, churches helping churches…

As the days have passed, the sound of helicopters has diminished. Today, I heard only a couple pass overhead. However the fragrance of honeysuckle still rides sweetly on the wind. Yesterday, the scent captured my attention yet again and I paused from picking up debris. I located the nearby vine, pulled off my work gloves, picked a few blossoms, and partook of their delicate sweetness.

The tornadoes that spun through our city destroyed much, but the fury of the wind did not carry away kindness and generosity. These have been ever-present, a sweet fragrance on the wind, a vine firmly rooted, a blossom ready to give forth its fruit…

The helicopters will soon be gone, off to follow the next news story. But the vine of kindness is rooted deeply here in Cullman. Its sweet fragrance is ever-present, riding gently on the quiet wind.

Postscript: We’ve made wonderful progress clearing up the monastery grounds, etc. and consider ourselves to be in good shape. We’re still without phone service at the monastery, so it still means a trip to town to check email, make a blog post, etc., but we are so grateful to have electricty. The city, too, is on its way to to recovery and rebuilding, thanks to the kindness, generosity, and hard work of so many.

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