The drive to Dalton was supposed to be incident free. While old and well used, the truck had always worked for me in the past. The Tennessee/Georgia countryside is always green, idyllic, and peaceful.
The green vistas took a radical turn as I crossed the state line heading south on Cherokee Road. As a stranger, it is easy for forget recent events in a community you do not live in. In this case, I was driving into the heart of a recent tornado’s path. It was a war zone that had been hit hard! The trees and green undergrowth that I was used to seeing were no longer there. The few trees that remained were stripped of their leaves and most of their limbs. For the first time, I could see the rock face of the ridge running on the east side of the small valley. Whatever had existed had been blown away. There were pocket of rebuilding, still in early days. It felt like we, human beings, did not belong.
As I struggled with the reflections of the scene, I arrived early for dinner with a friend. I pulled into a parking spot and went to turn off the engine. It seems as though the key had decided it no longer wanted to be part of the truck. It was willing to turn things on but had no interest in turning anything off.
I fiddled, tugged, pulled, pressed, and even hit. The engine purred while the key refused to go in one direction. Taking a deep breath I paused to reflect on the scene.
In one case it felt like I did not belong. In the second, a component was acting like it did not belong. I wanted to scream! The words that fit the moment were from an old writer. “You are Christ’s body—that’s who you are! You must never forget this.” (1 Corinthians 12.27)
With patience and perseverance, I prevailed. The evidence shows the people along Cherokee Road are rebuilding their lives. We belong, even when it does not feel like it.