Do you remember May 1992? It fell in the year when the Ford Taurus surpassed the Honda Accord as the top-selling passenger car in the United States and Ranch Dressing became the most popular topping for salad. May is the specific month that the Space Shuttle Endeavor flew her maiden voyage and the twenty-seventh Amendment to the United States Constitution was enacted.
And, there was a tornado that tore through Mapledale Farm in Berlin, New York.
In the late afternoon of May 2nd, 1992, my parents and I along with my friend Dan were finishing the afternoon milking at our family dairy farm when the sky turned an odd shade of green. There was an eerie stillness that was overcome with what sounded like an oncoming freight train. From stillness to deafening noise, there was then the onslaught of wind, dust, leaves, splintering wood, tearing metal, frantic cows crashing through gates, and a screaming 17-year-old boy clutching to metal framework in the milking parlor hoping the storm would end.
I clearly remember the storm, and I can go on and on about the details of what it was like—including how sheets of metal roofing continued to come crashing down from the sky for what felt like minutes after the tornado had passed through. I can also ramble on about how long it took to clean up the pieces and begin to rebuild. But in May of 2020, there is a different memory that has consumed me.
I remember with gratitude my family and friend who weathered the storm alongside me. I remember with thankfulness the extended family, friends, church family, and community who helped get the farm patched up to be in working condition and who walked alongside us throughout the lengthy rebuilding process.
I am incredibly thankful for the people God placed in my life through the storm and then on the other side of the tornado of May 2nd, 1992. This reflection has been helpful for me to remember with thankfulness and gratitude the people who have been journeying through the stormy year of 2020 alongside me. My family, friends, coworkers, church family, and General Conference family are people that I have been especially thankful for—but perhaps too quiet in that thankfulness.
I would invite you to join me in thanking those people who are journeying through this storm with us. Maybe it is your pastor. Maybe it is a spouse or child or parent. Maybe it is that friend who calls at just the right time. Maybe it is someone who has encouraged you when you needed to hear it. This week, let’s spend some extra time thanking God for the people who are walking alongside us—and then take the next step by letting them know how thankful we are for who they are.
Grace and peace,
Carl Greene, Executive Director, Seventh Day Baptist General Conference of USA and Canada