It’s taken me a week to begin to grasp the devastation that the E-4 Tornado did to Nashville and surrounding areas in the middle of the night on Tuesday, March 3. You’ve undoubtedly seen the damage – the homes and businesses that were wiped out – the cars ripped in half – a major part of the city, wiped out. You’ve heard about the tragic loss of lives and those that are still missing and perhaps, like me, you watched your television and wept.
I live in Franklin and although we had a very dynamic storm, we went to bed believing it would all be over in a few hours. I woke up at 6am to a text from a friend asking if I was okay. And then another friend and another, and it was then that we turned on the news. We couldn’t believe what we were watching.
I did not take these photos and I hope it's okay to post them here. They've been going around on social media and they tell the story.
This post is not about the tornado. This is about community – our city and the people who come together in the purest, most beautiful way.
Perhaps you watched neighbors helping neighbors – strangers showing up because it’s the right thing to do when the 2010 Nashville floods happened. I was living in Los Angeles at the time and I was so moved by what I was witnessing. It made me want to get in my car and come help.
And once again…this is the story. We will always have tornadoes, but Dear God, please not like this again. (I don’t think I’ll ever get used to tornadoes.) There will always be scary storms – the kind that keep you up at night. The power of Mother Nature is beyond comprehension.
As soon as the tornado was gone…Nashville stepped up in every imaginable way. Monetary donations – supplies – food – water – necessities – trucks with chainsaws and tools to help – people on foot – people reaching out to those in need. Everywhere you looked help was there.
This is what one of my friends wrote about her husband:
“As soon as he made sure my daughter and I were safe, he immediately ran into the street to go help our neighbors. He went into a crumbling house and rescued a girl who was stuck in the bathroom. He directed people to come into our home as a safer place to get away from the weather. He literally gave away his shoes to one of our neighbors who had none after barely escaping his house.” Tori Jackson
And she wrote more, but you understand. There are thousands more stories just like this one.
Churches that had been severely damaged showed up with trucks filled with supplies. Cities often feel like everyone is a stranger, but on March 3 and going forward, until the work is done…we are a city of neighbors helping neighbors. It will take a long, long time to heal the grief and for those who lost loved ones in an instant, it will take forever. The broken buildings will be rebuilt and one day children will ride their bikes in the street again.
For now…Nashville and her surrounding areas are in shock, but through the rubble, you can see so much kindness and love. I have never witnessed this kind of coming together; and I'm humbled and changed because of it.
Another photo going around social media that I did not take. I'm not trying to steal anyone's work, but this says it all.
If you feel like being a part of something really beautiful, there are so many ways. You can show up with supplies. You can drop supplies off at locations that will deliver them. I recommend you follow a local news station as they are keeping everyone posted on how to help. You can also check with local churches. You can make an online donation. Hands on Nashville is doing great work. Community Resource Center can guide you to the most urgent need. We personally and professionally gave to Second Harvest of Middle Tennessee because we love the work they do. I also purchased one of these t-shirts. There’s a lot that needs to be done, but together we’re better. Through the rubble and loss, somehow the human spirit and brotherly love is shining through.