Some days I’m reminded of just how fragile life can be. I was reminded of that while standing surrounded by the rubble still left two months after the tornado that hit Joplin. My mind was blown by how this could happen all under eight minutes. How everything that was build up over lifetimes could be so easily destroyed. How all the prized possessions and all the prided property could so simply be taken apart and smashed into the tiniest of pieces.
How does one rebuild when everything that had so much worth now seems so worthless? How does one pick up the pieces and carry on? Because life doesn’t stop. Obviously your life’s direction and purpose changes. Maybe only momentarily, but your focus is no longer on building up the American Dream. That dream has been shattered. The contents of that dream are now broken and tattered, more like that of a nightmare.
I still believe that there is hope. That Joplin neighborhood was not a graveyard, but a garden. People are still helping, doing all they can to rebuild. New life is coming up from the destruction.
My youth group went to Joplin to help. We didn’t always have much direction, but we tried our best to be flexible and do whatever we could to help. It wasn’t much. We were only there for a long weekend. We got to hear people’s stories. And people were so eager to tell their stories. Their stories of losing everything. It surprised me that someone would want to retell that, relive in. I’m grateful for their stories and their willingness to share, their willingness to bring us into their pain and their struggles. It’s true when Austin Sailsbury writes:
It would feel apocalyptic if the sun weren’t shining. It would feel hopeless if so many people weren’t helping one another.
There is still so much hope bursting from the brokenness. There is still a lot of work to be done. There is still much temptation to fall into pit of despair. But the hope is sustaining. It is not a graveyard. It’s a garden.