Saturday, May 28, 2011

Distracted by Joplin

If you have NOT heard news of Joplin’s devastation, I’m not sure how you’ve avoided it. It’s been news everywhere, I hear, but of course being here in the state has made it constantly covered and updated in our area.

When news came that they’d had a direct tornado hit on Sunday, I made a few contacts to people we know there or who have loved ones there. Though I’ve never lived in Joplin, we have quite a few connections, and several years ago I spent a good deal of time there.

My sister-in-law is from there, her family still living in the area. My sister went to college there for one year. My father’s employer is headquartered there. My uncle and cousins went to college there. I had friends in college who were from the area.

Yesterday, my parents and my youngest sister went to Joplin to serve. Help. Do something. My sister took some video as they drove through. Even after seeing all the photos and video through media sources, seeing it at eye level, block after block is overwhelming. I can’t imagine experiencing it first hand.

This week, I’ve been following a couple of stories… many of you may have been aware of these as well. They gained quite a bit of exposure via Facebook especially.

Will Norton was driving home from his own graduation from high school when he was literally taken from his father’s arms and swept through the sunroof of his vehicle and away into the chaos of the tornado.

(Photo courtesy of the Norton family.)

They had hoped to find him alive, but just last night news came that he’d been found, and unfortunately that he was not alive.

Skyular Logsdon was a 16-month-old who was with his mother when the tornado struck.

(Photo courtesy of Skyular’s family.)

He was also taken from his mother’s arms by the twister and was missing for days. I kept checking on the status of the search, but Wednesday he was identified in a morgue. His mother is only 18 and still in the hospital for her injuries. Heartbreaking.

Then, the story of a woman who heard of her father’s passing in the tornado and died of a heart attack from the stress of the news.

It’s overwhelming, and I’m a few hours away. I’ve not seen it with my own eyes in person, and I’m really bothered by all the destruction and the hundreds of sad stories. I’ve been praying for the families, the missing, for the strength of those who are working. I’ve been amazed by the outpouring of generosity in both time and gifts for the city’s residents from people near and far.

Then I got an email from my sister yesterday… with this story. Please take the time to read it. It is written by an ER physician who was in St. John’s when it was hit. (These are some stunning pictures of the inside of the hospital.) The way he shares what he saw is amazing. What a powerful essay about his experience.

Cars after the tornado

Main Entrance
(Photos from St. John’s/Mercy Health’s Flickr)

So I get up each morning, go throughout my day, complain about the little annoyances of my life in the moment, and then stop to realize that I better zip my lip. Stop my griping. Get over myself and the whining.

For I have life. I have a home. I have my children. I have my husband. My house is messy, but it’s all here. I can account for where everyone that I care about is at any given time. And I am grateful. I must continue to be grateful. Consciously grateful.

Please continue to remember the people of Joplin, those who are still missing, and those who have been left to pick up the millions of pieces.


  1. This is a great piece Randa-Kay. Brings tears to my eyes. And of course a remembrance of all things we have, when we know where our loved ones are.


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