I have been a little down this holiday season. This happens to many people over the holidays due to family dysfunction, lack of a special someone, loss of a loved one or just sick of all the shopping/wrapping/shipping that goes on during this time of the year. But my melancholy mood is a little different.
Living in Joplin, MO I know I have so much to be thankful for. My house wasn’t touched by the tornado, my work only had power loss for a few days and I personally did not know anyone that was killed by the storm. But my mind cannot stop thinking about those who were not so fortunate.
I know that things can be replaced but I keep thinking about special Christmas ornaments their children might have made, a recipe from Grandma that cannot be recreated from memory and personal photos. Those are things that can never be replaced. Or maybe a loved one was killed by the storm. Maybe the house that many generations of family grew up in was destroyed. Many are spending their holidays in FEMA trailers, knowing in the back of their mind that this housing is only temporary and worrying about where they will go once the trailers are taken away. My biggest worry this holiday season was receiving the gifts on time that I had ordered online. It doesn’t hold a candle to what the tornado survivors are going through.
Someone recently asked me how do I cope with living here now…it is so depressing and filled with large empty spaces that once were neighborhoods. I guess I don’t see it that way. I see that in seven months most of the businesses that were destroyed have re-built or moved into a new property. Houses are popping up in all those empty spaces…brand new houses that offer a family a new beginning. Progress is being made in leaps and bounds. Seven months ago when there was debris piled high on the sides of the streets, everything seemed so overwhelming. With most of that cleared off now it is like seeing light at the end of the tunnel. Things will get better…things will be back to normal sooner rather than later.
A writing professor of mine said, “Always write what is on your heart.” When I sat down to write this evening it was not about the Joplin tornado but all the thoughts I had been having over the holidays kept jumping around in my mind so I knew that it should be put down on paper. I am not really sure what the point of all of it is other than to serve as a reminder of how many blessings I have…to try not to take simple things for granted and to have faith that things will only get better each and every day around here.
“Nothing is permanent in this wicked world, not even our troubles.” –Charlie Chaplin