I closed my eyes and sighed as I recalled the memories Matthew and I had made on this vacation. Last summer I had undergone brain surgery, and after finally recovering from that traumatic experience, this trip was exactly what I needed. My parents had stayed with our daughters Jessie and Michelle so we could spend two whole weeks in Florida for our twenty-year anniversary. Now, as we neared the hotel, I was relieved this would be our last night away from home. We had had a great time, but I would be glad to be home.
After checking into the hotel, we to decided to do one more round of shopping before heading to dinner. But because I dreaded the long drive ahead of us tomorrow, right after dinner we went back to the hotel so I could go to bed early. Before drifting off to sleep, I spent a few minutes thanking God for our lovely vacation.
Suddenly, Matthew was shaking me awake.
“Hurry!” Matthew said. “That’s the tornado siren. We have to get to the bathroom quickly!”
I was so groggy; I don’t even remember what either of us said next. Before I knew what was happening, I grabbed a pillow and comforter and followed Matthew to the bathroom. Placing the cover and pillow in the tub for extra padding, we both climbed in. We sat there in the dark holding hands and praying, and I fought back tears as I thought about Jessie and Michelle. Outside, the wind whipped wildly as the rain pounded. I had never heard a storm like that before. Finally, I couldn’t hold back my tears any longer as I imagined all kinds of horrible scenarios, but as I sobbed, Matthew wrapped his arms around me.
“It sounds like it’s easing up now.” Matthew said a few moments later. “We’ll be alright.”
By the time the storm calmed, it was almost daybreak, and streaks of sunlight poked through as the dark clouds faded away. Matthew got dressed and peered outside to assess the damages. I heard him talking to some of the other guests, so I got dressed as quickly as I could and joined him. No one had been injured, but Matthew showed me several dents in the hood of our van. I went back to the room and gathered the rest of our belongings so we could check out, but since there was no electricity, the hotel clerk had to write down just our names and room number. Then he wished us a safe drive home.
As Matthew drove toward the interstate, I spotted several downed trees and power lines, yet, in the midst of it all, God had protected us. I smiled to myself as I considered the night’s events and thought how relieved I would be to finally get home.
© 2015 Andrette Herron