Last Thursday, devastating tornadoes ripped through parts of northern Colorado, my home state.
I have friends and colleagues in the area. One colleague lost everything he and his family owns.
Amazingly, despite the fact this bizarre tornado left a 35 mile swath of destruction, only one life was lost. (And don't get me wrong, one is too many.)
Today, the special man in my life, Curtis, and and I took a drive through the area.
I nearly cried when I saw the day care center. It was in ruins. Fortunately, however, the quick thinking adults managed to get their precious charges across the street to the bank, where they rode out the storm in the vault. All the windows in the bank were boarded up after the wind blew out the glass.
It was poignant to see a child's toy, twisted and abandoned, along the side of the road.
But as we drove through Windsor, we saw amazing sight after amazing sight.
Newly raised flags flapping in the breeze.
Volunteer groups preparing dinner, to be served at 5:30.
A house with its entire side shredded off, exposing kitchen cabinets. Another home gaping open to reveal its couches and chairs. A bright red X painted on a house, letting others know it had been condemned. A leveled gazeebo. Downed power lines.
And people smiling.
Church groups dressed in bright yellow t-shirts, picking up rakes and hauling trash. And, believe it or not, some even smiling.
Differences were put aside as neighbor helped neighbor, as stranger helped stranger.
The golden eaglets, still in their nest, survived the storm. Pelicans sunned themselves.
And life went on.
It will take weeks, maybe months, until northern Colorado returns to normal. But what I took away from today's experience was a profound sense of gratitude. I'm grateful the sun still comes up. And that life goes on. I'm grateful for the resilience of the human spirit.
I'm grateful to have witnessed the very best the human spirit has to offer.
And tonight, I'm going to let those I love know how grateful I am for them...