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One Day Too Late

There will always be tomorrow.

Until there's not.

Two days ago, we made a trip to NWA to work for some friends at a baseball tournament. They required a setup at three individual parks in the area. Our friends took one, we took one, and a family friend took the other. Our first day went well ...

After spending a long, hot and productive day at the ballpark, it was nice being able to retreat to our hotel room for a hot shower, a little TV, and a good night's rest. Upon entering the room, we turned the AC on, put away our dinner leftovers, cleaned up and got comfortable. Ahh. Relaxation. Peace. Quiet. Sleep. That is until I woke up, startled, when I felt our third floor hotel room shake. "Hey, did you feel that?" I asked.

"Yes. I think so," Steve said.

I heard heavy rain and whistling wind coming from outside. As I got up to look out the window, I noticed that my phone, face down, was lit up. I thought to myself, that can't be good. I picked up my phone and flipped it over to see that we were under a tornado warning. I started to freak out, but for whatever reason still felt the need to look out the window prior to getting dressed. If major storms freak you out, don't look out your third story window when under a tornado warning. I'm just saying, it's not a good idea.

"Steve, get up! We are under a tornado warning! The weather is crazy! Come on, we need to figure out where to go," I exclaimed. I think Steve was still trying to wake up at that my point. My anxiousness was not helping the situation at all. Steve got up and tried to light the room the best he could with his phone so I could find what I needed. I frantically searched for something to put on. Once I was dressed, I opened our door to see if there was anyone else in the hallway. I didn't see a soul. Poor Steve was still locating his clothes when I pulled the door open. I should have been helping him, or in the least, turned on my flashlight so he could see better. I think my sense of logic was carried away with the storm. With every unfamiliar sound, my brain told my body it was the end. I was a crazy hot mess. Steve, on the other hand, was calm, cool and collected. My hero. He thought logically and kept me grounded, or at least he tried to.

We made our way to the first floor via the dimly lit stairwell. We could hear the angry exterior winds and rain crashing against the building. It was slightly intimidating. As we entered the first floor hallway, we were able to see the other guests, most sitting or laying on the floor, looking at their phones and discussing the weather. We found a spot and grabbed a seat. The man across from us was listening to a live commentary on the storms and, of course, added his own commentary. It sounded like there was initially only one possible tornado in the area, but before long we learned of a possible second tornado to the east of our location. My nerves were on edge and I didn't know if we were going to make it through the night. Obviously, we survived.

As I sit here in our air conditioned hotel room, writing and sharing my story, I must consider the fact that there are some, however, who didn't make it. Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Texas were all hit hard. There are a few confirmed deaths, many injured, homes and businesses destroyed and thousands without power. Our friends had originally planned on bringing their camper and staying at the ballpark where they were set up. Thankfully, although frustrating in the moment, something had happened and they were unable to bring the camper so they ended up staying in the hotel next to us. We received an early morning text from our friends that said the ball tournament had been canceled and that their ballpark had been leveled during the storms. When they tried to return to the field this morning to see if they would be able to salvage any equipment, they found that the damage in the area was so severe that they couldn't even make it to the park. Had they been able to bring their camper, they might not be here today.

Friends, family, everyone else, you are not guaranteed tomorrow. You are not guaranteed the next 30 seconds. We all have struggles we face. We all go through disagreements and perhaps say or do things we are not proud of. Not one of us are perfect. We should all show humility at times, ask for forgiveness and take responsibility for our mistakes. Also, we should all learn to show love, grace, and forgiveness to the people in our lives.

Unfortunately, we live in a broken world full of broken and hurting people. Often, hurt people, hurt people, and it sucks. It can be easy for us to hold onto those hurts, especially the ones that are caused by those who are closest to us. Families are torn apart. Kids rebel and lash out at their parents. Parents abandon their children. Grandchildren are denied relationships with grandparents. Friendships are diminished. Hope is lost. Faith is forgotten. People become numb and grow cold. Thus, the vicious cycle of destruction continues.

What if tomorrow never comes? What if this moment is your last, or someone else's for that matter? What if you never see your best friend, child, spouse, or parent again? Would you have regrets concerning any of your relationships?

I encourage you, if given the opportunity to mend a broken relationship in your life, take it. Love unconditionally. Ask for forgiveness. Forgive others. Embrace a spirit of mercy and grace. Pray. Remember, you cannot control how the other person will act or respond in any given situation. How they treat you in your attempt to mend the relationship may not feel good. They may lash out, make assumptions, or refuse to accept that anything can or will be different. That's okay as long as you are doing what is good, right, pure, and true. Just because it doesn't feel good doesn't mean it isn't good. Pray, do your best and trust God with the rest. Know that if this is your last moment, you'll go with a peace in your heart knowing you loved, apologized, forgave, encouraged, or whatever else is needed, without regret.

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