Serious time, y'all. You've been warned.
Yesterday I took a break from the world and watched my DVR, napped, read- just had a really lazy and wonderful Sunday. Because of that lazy day, I hadn't heard about the tornadoes in Joplin, MO yet, and it confronted me full-on this morning at the start of my daily Today show routine.
I think most of us are aware of the complete and utter devastation that a tornado can create, but for some reason, the Joplin tornado disaster has really struck a nerve with me. Maybe it's because one of the main medical relief in the area, St John's Regional, was destroyed- people had literally nowhere to go for medical treatment. Maybe it's because it just kept pouring rain on the survivors trying to save their neighbors and help them out of debris. Maybe it's the footage of nothing but debris with small pockets of fire for literally miles. Or maybe, and most likely, it's the fact that this could happen to anyone, anywhere, at any time, and you could literally see the normalcy of your life disintegrate within a matter of minutes.
As someone who grew up in a hurricane zone, I always anticipated them with a mixture of fear and excitement. I never experienced one until I was an adult, though, and it was post-Katrina- I wasn't too scared because I knew the storm wasn't that strong and I was in a strong building. But the thing is, I knew the storm was coming. As a precaution, I built a basic bunker into the walk-in closet in our then apartment, containing a large variety of dry and canned foods and staples (as well as our two guinea pigs.) But I knew the storm was coming. We'd been tracking it for days. I didn't have a massive disaster sprung upon me in a matter of minutes. And while I am NOT knocking the destructive power of hurricanes (and Ike did his fair share of damage and dream-crushing), the storms in Joplin and Alabama just blow my mind.
My heart breaks for these families, and their lost loved ones, pets, photographs, plans- everything. And after seeing the footage today of reporters openly crying, stunned dogs being pulled from debris, police chiefs working on for their community when their own home has been destroyed, I am just so grateful for my everything. For my family that is safe and well, for my belongings that I get to continue to enjoy, for my plans of celebrating my wedding anniversary and seeing my cousin graduate high school that I get to carry out. I'm just- grateful. And although I'm not an especially religious person, I'm continuing to offer up prayers, good wishes and all the hope that can be transported to Joplin, MO. May God bless them, and carry them through this most difficult of times.
If you're interested:
American Red Cross on Facebook
CNN update on Joplin, MO tornado