For those of us “of a certain age,” April in Xenia is a tough month. For many of us, our lives were cleanly cleaved into two segments, “before” and “after,” on April 3, 1974. For us, it’s one of those events that you always remember, even down to knowing where you were and what you were doing when it happened. Even for Xenians like me, who weren’t in town when it occurred, our lives were permanently altered by the aftermath. Months and years of rebuilding were ahead of us and we all knew it.
I have many memories of the year or so that followed. One of the things I remember from that time, with grim amusement, was the prediction by “experts” that there would be psychological damage in Xenia severe enough to potentially make it impossible for the town to continue as a town. And there were outsiders who, apparently, were watching for it to happen. But it never did. I’m not saying none of us were permanently affected. I think we probably all were, in one way or another. But we didn’t let it stop us from getting done what we needed to get done.
We found places to live while we rebuilt our homes. Our schools were up and running 11 days after the tornado, thanks to the hard work of our administrators and the generosity of our neighboring districts, who shared their facilities with us. And that fall, we were back in our own facilities, rearranged, reconfigured, and augmented, but ours, just the same. Our newspaper never missed a publishing date, even though its facilities lacked power. Our stores and banks reopened, in trailers if necessary, while they rebuilt. When push came to shove, Xenia DID live. Our town simply refused to die.
Sound familiar? It should. Westminster is a microcosm of Xenia. Like Xenia, we have faced adversity. Like Xenia, our demise was predicted by “experts.” And, like Xenia, we told the experts to go pound sand and we went on existing. And we plan to go on existing, in one sense or another. Perhaps we will go forward as part of an even greater unified ministry. Perhaps we will go forward as dandelion seeds blown to new soil to continue spreading our trademark quirkiness. But, no matter what, just as Xenia lives, so will Westminster. And God’s people say—-AMEN!