I am still absolutely dumbstruck by the events of 6/1. For those of you who haven't heard on the news, an EF03 tornado ripped through western MA in a 39 mile path of sheer destruction. I have family and friends in every single affected town and city, and the tornado missed them all by as little as a half mile and my house by about 8 miles. By sheer dumb fucking luck, we were all either just to the south or north of the tornado's path.
My former stomping grounds from my teenage years are all but totally leveled. People have lost everything. Again, by dumb fucking luck, only 4 people were killed. One of them, a mother, was killed when she acted as human shield over her 15 year-old daughter as their house came down on top of them. It makes me sick to my stomach to think about it.
I've seen many people on the news and on Facebook talking about how they prayed for God to spare them and their homes, and how it was a "miracle" they came through unscathed. I am amazed at the cognitive dissonance that belief requires. It has taken all of my self-control not to ask - do you somehow think you prayed harder or had more faith than the people who lost everything? Do you think you deserved to be spared and those affected didn't? How can you possibly believe in and justify the actions of a god who would do something like that?
Don't get me wrong - I'm sure that if my house had been in the path and I was forced to take cover in the basement, shielding my baby from flying debris, glass, and mother nature's blind-ass fury, you'd probably catch me, an Atheist, praying my ass off too. I think that's just human nature in the face of impending doom - not necessarily praying to a god, but to anything, everything that might be listening - even the tornado itself - "Please Mr. Tornado, please spare my baby, I am BEGGING you PLEASE!" - throwing your will and desperation out there to the universe and hoping it sticks somehow.
But then if you ARE spared, if you are one of the lucky ones, how can you possibly sit there and say, out loud no less, that "God" saw fit to save YOU because he heard your prayers somehow over the prayers of thousands of others praying just as feverishly and desperately as you?
I am dumbstruck by all of it. The destruction, the violence of it, the terror I went through calling my family members and saying "There's a tornado heading straight for your house!!!!!" while I'm watching the shit happen on the news. Being in a panic the entire rest of the evening with every rumble of thunder, every flash of lightning, a yellow-orange foreboding sky above - the whole time saying to myself "But this shit doesn't happen HERE! Not HERE!!!"
And I've been having nightmares about it ever since. As someone who truly loved thunderstorms my entire life, I don't think I will ever see them the same way again. Ever.