Posts Tagged ‘God bless Joplin.’

No Amount of Words…

June 10, 2011 2 comments

I’m still in Joplin as I begin writing this post. I’m at my parent’s house, using their computer, and grateful that they were not affected by the tornado that just a few blocks away wreaked havoc on 1/3 of the city. It’s been 8 1/2 years since I moved out of Joplin, but I know the town well. It’s near and dear to my heart.

That sounds cliché, and so will my next statement. As an initial reaction to all of this, what can I say? My own video and pictures will be coming soon, but they don’t do justice to the immense and utterly terrible scene here in this big little town. I saw all of the images before I arrived here. But they pale in comparison to standing in the middle of it all…where no lens is able to capture what the human eye is capable of absorbing. In taking video, I felt like I needed to detach myself in order to get decent quality images, but every time I drive through I’m shocked and amazed again at the complete and vast devastation. It’s incredibly horrifying to me. Just imagine what it is for the many who endured it and survived!

Any disaster area is usually a place that brings out the best and the worst in people. That is true here, however the outpouring of good being done is extremely impressive. Minutes after I arrived, I was given a bottle of water by a guy on a four wheeler. As the president and governor pointed out, the “Good Samaritan” spirit of Joplin is evident in neighbor helping neighbor. I see many different states represented in relief volunteers in the city and even now as the national media coverage has begun to dissipate if not disappeared already. I see much good amidst in all of the bad. I see the church as the shinning beacon it was meant to be. I see God’s hand in the divine interventions that so many people are talking about.

Springfield’s chief meteorologist called this vicious EF5 tornado an act of nature, but that many more people were not killed was an act of God. The stories are many that support this quote. So many people, including my good friends lost everything, but their lives.

Left in the path is a long period of rebuilding, and not just structures. We mustn’t forget Joplin. It may be old news already for the mainstream anchors, but the debris still left on the ground is enormous. Again, it sounds cliché, but it’s beyond words. Words may be helpful, but are by nature limited in their ability to describe incredible situations. No amount of words will begin to accurately portray for you what has taken place here in Joplin.

That was my initial reaction, and the phrase that was continually on my mind every time I would drive through an affected area, which is unavoidable, it’s so wide-spread. But maybe there is a word to describe Joplin after all. One word often associated with tragedy is simple enough to comprehend, though to understand it you must have been through some amount of suffering. That word is “hope”.  Someone took duck tape to the Joplin High School sign where the “j, lin” were removed and made “Joplin” read “Hope” instead. That is not just the sentiment of one; it’s the will of many. There is so much debris going OUT of Joplin, but at the same time there is so much hope IN Joplin.

My wife took a picture of a tree. Like all trees in the disaster zone, they were stripped of all life, including much of the bark. Yet this tree already is beginning to produce life again- a pretty fitting image of the Joplin I know and love.

God bless Joplin!

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