As a little girl growing up in Mid-Missouri, I learned to respect storms. My grandmother was terrified of storms, especially tornadoes. I don't think I appreciated the severity of tornadoes until one hit our home 5 years ago. And if that didn't make a believer out of me, the most recent tornado that hit Joplin certainly does. My sister, Debbie and brother-in-law, Mike, live in Joplin. My niece, Meg, her husband Rob and their children, Rylee and Ryan live in Joplin. They all survived the storm and had minimal damage to their property. They are very lucky. But to say that they weren't hurt, or didn't lose their home, would be minimizing what has happened to them and their community. The devastation is heartbreaking and widespread. Their community, school, hospital, stores, restaurants and friends homes have been leveled. The comfort of a community and neighborhood and the security they felt living in a relatively small middle America town is gone.
I often think that I live in a cocoon, isolated from the reality of the real world. I have surrounded myself with people who love me, with items that I need that keep me safe and comfortable and happy. But when the threat of losing all of that comes along, it is a harsh reality. The people of Joplin have been stripped bare. Many have lost loved ones, homes, possessions, jobs and security. The optimist would say that the most important thing is being alive and having the ones you love alive. When it comes right down to it, that is all any of us can hope for. Yet, we still try to fool ourselves into thinking that we have some control over our lives. I guess nature has a way of showing us who is in control.
I pray for all of the residents of the Joplin area. I pray that they can put their lives back together again and go on. I think the outpouring of love, generosity and kindness that has begun will help them toward the journey of putting their lives back together. I certainly hope it does!