When a lightning storm is twenty miles away, you check to make sure your trash can lids are on tight, and there’s nothing in the yard to blow away. You think about grabbing a jacket to bring along when you go to run errands. You call your kids in from playing in the yard and wonder if your son’s baseball practice will be cancelled.

When a lightning storm is five miles away, you find yourself looking out the window at its approach. You may start counting the seconds between the lightening and the thunder to see just how close the storm is. Your little children may come and sit near you, wide-eyed, concerned about the noise of the storm.

When lightning hits the power pole 30 feet from your living room, the thunder and the lightning descend upon you in a perfectly melded spine-pounding crack of light that feels as if it should cleave the house in two. Your hair stands up. Back-power from the lightning strike makes every light in your house turn on all at once just for a second, even the ones no one left on, before the whole house goes dark.

In the shocked silence, you call out names, first frantically gathering the baby to you, and then your other loved ones. They emerge from various parts of the house, the same wide-eyed white-lipped fear on every face. “It hit us. It hit us,” you all say. The little ones cluster around you as you kneel on the floor to embrace them, knees weak. The next crack of thunder makes everyone gasp and wince. Some raise their arms defensively, waiting for another blow like the first.

Because it was the first. Though there had been wind, there had been absolutely no thunder, no warning rumbling, before that fearsome knee-buckling strike.

Your husband ventures outside to check the roof for smoke or blackness or signs that the house was actually hit, signs that you may need to pile everyone into the car and get away fast. But it all looks intact. You all start to breathe again, though an hour or so later, your four year old comes running to tell you about a crack in the ceiling. An old crack, you soon realize, but in the moment it took you to follow her to her discovery, you were almost certain that the crack would be new, because it seems only right that there be evidence of that ferocious bolt.

In the hours after the lightning strike as you assess damage, you’ll discover that you’ve lost all variety of equipment: a couple of modems, a couple of radio phones, an exterior light, the eye on your garage door opener, and a flat screen computer monitor.

The next morning your husband will go outside and find shards of shattered ceramic insulator littering the driveway. You’ll go to the store to replace the lost items and leave $300 poorer.

Disturbing, yes.

But you cannot forget that moment of clarity just after the horrible crack- the moment when all the faces around you were there and safe and blessedly unhurt. You know it could have been oh so much worse. And you’re thankful that all you have to do to recover from this blow is drop a few hundred bucks at Best Buy.


  1. Oh how scary! Glad to hear all is well, except for your pocket book!

  2. Mary, we are sooooo glad to hear you are OK. I can’t even imagine the initial horror you all felt. But, you’re right. Long live the appliances. RIP.

    Because the family is safe 🙂

  3. how scary! i am so glad every one at your house is ok. so glad it was only the electronic equipment.

  4. Wow! I guess there are normal days, and then there are the days you get struck by lightening…

    So glad all wide-eyed, white-lipped faces are safe.

  5. Lightning hit a lightpost 6 or 7 feet away from me while I was sitting on a bench waiting for a bus once. I had to feel to make sure my face was still there (it was). It was so bright and so loud and so sudden. Bummer about your electronic stuff but glad the family is good.

  6. I am so glad that you all are OK, Mary! And that the damage to your home wasn’t worse.

  7. Wow, scary. That happened to my parents this fall, and caused a huge fire with thousand of $ worth of damage. So glad you and your family (and your computer 🙂 ) are safe!

  8. wow, mary…. glad everyone is ok. did that happen last night?

  9. Wow…. this sounds really awful. I am so glad you are all okay, and can just imagine the thoughts in your head as you gathered up your family. Things you can replace. People? Never.

  10. We lost a TV and VCR among other things a few years back. The thing is, we lost a TV that was hooked to a VCR in the bedroom and that VCR was unharmed, and a VCR that was hooked to the TV in the living room, leaving that TV unharmed. So out of 2 TV’s and 2 VCR’s we ended up with 1 of each. How it got the VCR and left the TV unhurt although they were hooked together I couldn’t tell you, and the same for the other TV/VCR set.

    Lightning can do some awesome, terrible things.

    So thankful everyone and most of your property is okay. It could have turned out much worse.

  11. Whew! Yeah, that exact thing happened to us – not even a cloud in the sky. BEFORE we had kids, thank goodness. Lost everything electronic except the microwave. A laser printer was about $400 back then. Lost that, three computers, modems, tv, vcr, alarm clocks, the husband in college – well, I didn’t lose him, but the tuition thing made it really hard to replace stuff.

    So glad everyone’s okay. Be blessed!

  12. Yes, I’d say you are very blessed that those things could be replaced and your unreplacables are ok.

  13. GASP!!!! Wow, this story had my jaw literally hanging open! I’m so glad you’re ALL all right!

    Sometimes we just need a little reminder of the power of God’s creation.

  14. Is that not the loudest sound you have *ever* heard in all your life?! We had a strike about ten feet from our kitchen windows while I was in the kitchen one evening. I literally had a buzzing in my ears for hours afterward.

    My husband constantly quotes this statistic he learned in the last year or so:
    FIFTY PERCENT of all fatalities due to lightning strikes occur either BEFORE the storm begins or AFTER it has dissipated.

    Praise the Lord for His tender mercies and protection of your family.

    As you know, things are just…things.

  15. Wow, glad you are all OK. Scary. Praise the Lord all your real valuables were safe.

  16. Mary, you had me riveted! Very thankful that everyone is ok.

  17. Oh my gosh! I’m glad you all were okay!

  18. Surely you’ll be hugging your irreplacables extra tight for a while. I’m thankful that your family lost so little.

  19. Liz in Australia says:

    So glad to hear no one got hurt! We lost a modem the same way last year, but it was nowhere near that scary.

  20. that is so scary. so glad you are all okay. my parents had both tv’s hit by lightning last year. they had to replace them. not fun to have to spend the money…but as you said…everyone is fine. thank goodness!

  21. Oh my goodness! I am glad youa re all okay. There is nothing so fierce as lightening!

  22. Wow! I’m glad to hear you’ll all fine. How scary that must have been for you all!

  23. THAT is really scary, and PRAISE JESUS for keeping ya’ll safe!!!!

  24. Wow. I have goosebumps all over. I’m so glad that no one was hurt.