The dark sky turned an eerie shade of night as the late afternoon thunderstorm rolled into the rural community in Mississippi.
White, crooked strands of lightning darted from the heavens - illuminating the rain-drenched landscape like a trillion lightening bugs illuminating on cue.
Inside a home, an elderly woman, age 90, laid in bed – her life connected to an electric-powered oxygen machine. Suddenly, a loud cracking sound filled the air as a tree at the yard’s edge suddenly broke apart and fell on the adjoining county road, taking the power lines with it.
The electricity was off – the oxygen machine went silent.
The woman’s son, who had just arrived after traveling across the country, made urgent cell phone calls to total strangers seeking portable oxygen tanks to keep his mother alive.
Folks on the other end of the call instantly became heroes. An oxygen company employee who lived in the community soon arrived at the door with several portable oxygen bottles, working feverishly to change out the oxygen system.
Minutes later, the county assistant sheriff who lived down the road stopped by the house, called the power company, and insisted the restoration of power at this site was top priority.
The tree debris in the road would hinder the power crew’s arrival, until a sudden chorus of chainsaw sounds filled the air as local citizens joined together – all for one and one for all – to clear the roadway and help the family desperately in need.
Phone calls poured in – checking on the aged woman’s status as her son and daughter, pumped by adrenaline and love, worked to help comfort and reassure their family matriarch.
In the following days, four generations of family members gathered at the senior woman’s bedside to reflect on their storm experience with her and vice versa, including the elderly woman’s oldest daughter who was halfway around the world when the storm occurred and was compelled to immediately come home.
The family was so thankful for God’s miracle that spared their mother - for two weeks – until God took her home to Heaven.
This wonderful woman was my mother and I thank God for my arrival "home" in the nick of time as the storm approached.
The Blake family - both immediate and extended - cherish Mom’s final days, and thank God and the community for providing us with these precious final times to share our love and say goodbye before it was God's time.
Indeed, communities can be a lifeline for families. They change lives.