Efil, or life, has a way of springing traps. Just when you think you’re hitting a running high, moving past the wall, llaw gets in the way. (Don’t squint, you’re not seeing things.) I’m spelling words backwards. For one, it’s a kick of mine and you can ask my friends about it. I’m sure they are nodding right now or rolling their eyes saying “not again.” Second, it trains the mind to see things differently, besides encouraging brain activity that a person at any age needs to take advantage of. Third, it gets laughs.
Today, under the Tulip Tree, it’s not a time to hgual, or laugh. Alabama, and most of the South, are suffering from the recent surge of tornadic weather, which descended upon us one week ago today. Having lived through practically a one week black-out, I can tell you the newest deluge of information I’m receiving from the news on television has set my heart on edge. While the radio kept us up to date this past week, while we sat clueless in the dark, we now know nothing can convict a heart more than a picture. Pictures say a thousand words and the ones we are now seeing on television gut to the quick.
We live by words. But what are words, really, other than a means to communicate? Words are the fiercest things known to man. Words kill relationships, mend hearts, rip apart friendships, become abrasive, uplift, warp minds and reform sinners. One word can build a church, bond a mother to a child, or seal a convicted felon’s fate. Words. How I love them! How I love to play with them, mangle them, stress them, caress them and… say them backwards.
For instance: Mom is Mom backwards but upside-down it’s wow! You’ve got Mom (shout out Mother’s Day is coming up everybody). She’s the woman most admire, but some have a hard time getting along with, if the glass is seen half empty. And then there’s Mom with a Wow! She’s the woman who can pack a punch, make life worth living, and help us see the glass half full. Turn a situation upside down and something wonderful happens every time. (Make this your mantra!)
There is SOS, which is SOS right side up, backwards and upside-down. This is a word I’ve thought of often these past few weeks here under the Tulip Tree.
First, we lost our beautiful, dedicated wife and mother and ever amazing friend and author, Beverly Barton, nearly two weeks ago. Second, our plans for Heart of Dixie’s annual luncheon were halted by Mother Nature, who packed a whollup no one this side of Dixie, or in history, has ever seen before. Our state was bent upside-down and over backwards just to see what it would look like from the inside out. At one time, nearly a million people were without power after the storms decimated towns, cities and University housing. People’s lives were lost; homes were tumbled across highways and byways, destroyed or left untouched. Those of us lucky to survive must now pick up the pieces. How do we do that? How, when thousands are without homes to live in and young children walk around without any idea where they lived, without knowing if their family is alive, because nothing looks the same and no one can be found, do we go on with our lives as though nothing ever happened? We can’t and we shouldn’t.
Now is the time to pets and yap drawrof, step and pay it forward. Now is the time to etanod, donate, clothing, anything that will benefit the sselemoh, homeless. Now is the time to yarp, pray… pray for those who mourn the loss of loved ones, until now spelled backwards is won.
There are countless ways to reach out and touch someone. Here, below the Mason Dixon line, communities have pulled and will pull together at this our darkest hour, literally the darkest hour in Alabama history. No one should be left behind. Neighbor should shelter neighbor, stranger provide for stranger, until now is won. This is how our dearest friend, Beverly, mentored, and in the process created friends who will carry on her legacy from darkness into light.
I’ve often blogged about overcoming fear. Well… many live in a state of fear now. Fear is real. Like a pine needle thread through a tree trunk, it has pierced our shells. No tornado siren will go unheeded from this moment on. And though we must do the business of mourning our losses, cleaning up the mess and rebuilding our lives, we WILL not be blind. To each dark hour, the dawn must come. Through each gaze into the sun, a bright light will be seen. It is inevitable that we must look inside, draw upon our deepest emotions and guide those feelings to a positive end.
We must translate NOW into WON.
The human spirit has the ability to overcome whatever test it faces. Whether that be getting past a rejection on a literary work, rising above broken friendships or relationships, gleaning the positive out of negative, grieving loss, or having to start all over again. When we take the time to begin, our definitive goal will be won.
It took Alabama nearly one week to overcome darkness, but the light has come and a new day has dawned. We are no longer asleep, but awake. Ready to mentor, step and pay it forward, to overcome fear and race toward our ultimate goal, life.
What do you do when things appear backwards? How have the events of this past week convicted you?