…and come back stronger than we are today.”
City Manager Mark Rohr, Joplin Missouri
I had a great weekend. I met someone really special. I ran a race. I won a race. I PR’ed. I spent some much needed time with the husband. I stayed up late. I watched movies. I ate pizza. I had big plans on what I’d blog about come Monday morning.
Then it hit. It hit Joplin, Missouri. It hit Joplin hard. HARD.
It hit too close to home.
I live in Missouri, a couple of hours away from Joplin, so of course I can feel the overwhelming angst surrounding this terrible occurrence. However, had it been any other city…some city I wasn’t familiar with…maybe my heart wouldn’t feel so heavy.
I lived in Joplin for a year. And before I actually lived in Joplin, I drove there pretty much every other weekend for four years to sneak into Matt’s dorm and spend the night with him. It was the city I attended my first college football game, college basketball game, and the city I first played the game “baseball” in. It was the city where I first lived with Matt. It was the city where I ended up graduating from college. I’ll be honest…when I lived there I kind of despised it, but that probably had to do with the fact that we lived in an apartment complex that just happened to have a roach problem. And although my roach infested memories are the most vivid in my mind, I do have some pretty good memories from Joplin.
I sat and watched the Weather Channel for hours yesterday evening. I cursed the television when they would play the local on the eights; I just wanted to see the twister. I wanted to see Joplin and all the places I used to go. The hospital…gone. Wal-Mart…gone. The local high school where Matt did his student teaching…gone. It really is unbelievable. Unbelievable.
And then I wanted to see where it was going. My mom is on vacation in southern Missouri. My mom was too close for my comfort. This murderous twister…too close to home. I made her text me over and over until I knew it had to have passed. Her and her hubby are fine. Thank You God.
My heart aches for the people that live there. It aches for the ones who have lost their lives…it aches for the people still undiscovered or trapped……it aches for their families…it aches for the now homeless…it aches for the injured. I’m sure they are scared, and I just want them to feel okay again. I don’t do well with the waiting, the rebuilding, or the time in between tragedy and wellness. I want to take away all those peoples’ sadnesses now. I wish I could.
I couldn’t sleep last night because I wanted to see the updates on twitter and Facebook. Old acquaintances from Joplin informing the world when they made contact with their loved ones. Some people posting and spreading pictures of their loved ones still unfound. People organizing search parties, and people offering their homes for anyone who needed shelter. People posted links where you can donate to Joplin through the Red Cross and links where people could declare themselves safe so their families wouldn’t worry.
I’ve seen a first-person video taken by a young man who had taken cover with twenty other individuals in a walk-in freezer of a convenient store when the tornado struck. The video is nearly all blackness, but the emotion in the audio is heart-stopping. Perfect strangers telling each other they love each other, people proclaiming to Jesus over the roar of the twister, and then, finally, people asking each other if everyone is alright. Luckily, all those people survived.
I am lucky. I have so many blessing in my life. My family and my loved ones are lucky. I love you all. Remember to make sure the people in your life know that you love them.
As devastating as this tornado has been, a feeling of togetherness has formed out of the tragedy. People, even strangers are coming together to help one another. Medical personnel, fire fighters, policemen, and just regular people have come from surrounding cities to help dig through the rubble. And as City Manager Mark Rohr said,
“We will recover and come back stronger than we are today.”
Please keep Joplin in your prayers.