We didn’t watch The Wizard of Oz too much when we were growing up because the flying monkeys were really scary. And let’s face it, who would choose scary monkeys and a green-faced witch over movies with princesses or cute animals in them?
Nevertheless, I have seen The Wizard of Oz enough to know the plot and remember some of the most important characters. When my neighbor called me the other day to let me know she was making progress in the clean-up of my room, we shared a laugh over her finding one of my childhood dolls because her little feet were sticking out from under the bed. In the midst of a day filled with dumbfounded staring at the same picture of my room in shock, crying with relief from the fact that my whole family was safe, laughing at the image of my little doll mimicking the wicked witch’s famous scene was much needed.
As you may know, a tornado hit my house last week. Since the tornado hit, I’ve gone through a series of different emotions. I think first was shock. When I saw a picture of my room for the first time, I literally stared at the screen for 5 minutes just saying “That’s my room” over and over again out loud. To see the place where my pictures of friends and family hung on the wall stripped bare, the desk where I used to sit and write while looking out on the lake toppled over and destroyed, the lamp that used to light my pages as I read late into the night simply gone was a lot to take in at one time. It got me thinking about how much of myself I kept inside the four walls of my room. I probably could’ve spent hours just ruminating over every single possession that was wrecked or lost, but instead I started trying to view it in a positive light.
I wasn’t in that room when the walls flew away in the wind.
There are people right now (especially after last week’s batch of tornadoes) who can’t say the same thing, and that upsets me more than losing my house. I am thankful for my family and friends being safe, and that is something I’ll never tire of saying. People have come from every place in my life to offer support and encouragement in the form of words, hugs, and gestures that I never would have expected or asked for. I view this tornado not as taking anything away from me or my family, but of showing us the treasures that we do have. There are people to be thankful for with hearts big enough to take on any pain we might not be able to handle. There are friends willing to share laughter over the silliest things-like my doll taking cover under my bed. There are so, so many beautiful words of encouragement that have been written and spoken by friends and family these past few days that I will hold much, much dearer to my heart than my collection of books that got ruined by the storm. There are people waiting with empty hands to help clean up what’s left of our belongings and help us build something new. There are tiny, beautiful moments such as finding our dining room table still perfectly set despite the fact that everything around it was in chaos, or the photo of my family that flew from my room and down the hill lying there in an unbroken frame.
We never know what life will give us or take from us, but in each moment I think it’s important to be thankful for what we do have. Most of the time this beauty comes from the smile of another person, and knowing that it is in other people we store our most precious memories rather than in picture frames.
Even though this time is hard, I am brought back to the laughter I experience each time I share the story of my little doll finding shelter underneath my bed, with her two feet sticking out like the wicked witch. And when I think about it, I start to think about the song “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and it helps me to believe that in time we will be in a new house sharing special memories with friends and family who have been with us through everything, and with new people who have come into our lives as a result of this storm. There will be a time where we look back on this and realize how much this tornado gave to us rather than took from us. I take great comfort in that. I also take comfort in the fact that in any direction I look now, there are people helping other people do what they believe to be impossible.
So in the midst of this crazy, stunning week, I aim to listen to the lyrics of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and find a place where “troubles melt like lemon drops”. I believe that this place exists within the kind words of friends and strangers alike, and in the overwhelming amount of beauty and selflessness that can be found in the midst of these tragic tornado events that have affected so many people these past couple weeks.
Today I offer a recipe for a Somewhere Over the Rainbow Smoothie that will add a little pep to your day! So go ahead and bust out the blender and enjoy this fruity concoction!
Somewhere Over the Rainbow Smoothie
1/4 cup raspberries
1/4 cup peaches
1/4 cup pineapple
1/4 cup kale
1/4 cup blackberries
1 8oz. container coconut water
1. Blend raspberries with 2 tablespoons coconut water (use a little more if necessary). Blend until the fruit attains a smoothie-like consistency. Pour smoothie into 1 glass if you want to make one smoothie for yourself, or into 3 or 4 tiny glasses to make samplers for you and your friends. Wash out the blender.
2. Repeat this process with each of the fruits, layering the smoothie as you go. By the end, you should have a colorful concoction that’ll have you smiling in no time! Enjoy the sunshine in your life!