Two weeks ago I was on the campus of St. John's, Joplin, MO, having some medical tests. It was a morning-long ordeal, boring but not terribly painful. We had some excitement because there was a code gray at the hospital, and we were warned that if the weather got worse we'd be moved to safety. It didn't get worse, though I did get drenched picking up ribs at Rib Crib on the way home.
Two days later an F-5 hit St. John's along with a great deal more of Joplin. Everybody's heard about the tornado by now.
What a few people in the world may not have heard yet were some of the individual stories. My neighbor who works at a local Walmart told me she's been selling tons of water, cereal bars, soap, shampoo and many other items for shoppers to donate to the many homeless in Joplin.
She also told me there have been traffic jams in Joplin along 32nd street, not caused by gawkers, but by people trying to get into the city to help out.
Mel and I listened to a recording that someone apparently took on their cell phone inside a convenience store when the tornado hit it. The sound of the tornado was terrifying, children were crying, a woman was praying, and men were doing their best to make sure everyone was okay. They were strangers looking out for each other.
Many restaurants were in the line of the twister. The manager at one restaurant herded 32 people into the cooler, but the cooler door wouldn't close, so he went and found a bungee cord. He got the cord fastened, but couldn't get in himself. The tornado took the manager, but he saved those people.
One of my writing friends in Oklahoma City took shelter in a basement. The tornado was coming straight toward her, and then it suddenly lifted over the house she was in. It came back down on the other side.
One truck driver was passing my Joplin when the tornado hit. He could see something was going on, but couldn't figure out what was so weird until he realized his truck was ten feet off the ground. For a moment he thought he was being taken up in the rapture. I'm not sure why he thought the truck was going with him. He made it back down safely. I bet he never forgets that.
I received a call from my doctor's nurse yesterday. They're working out of Memorial Hall, which is a concert hall in Joplin where I once went to see the Strawberry Alarm Clock perform. Many files from the hospital had been found 65 miles away in Springfield, but mine had been salvaged from the doctor's office. The nurse told me I'm fine.
Miracles happen every day. They seem to appear more often after a tragedy such as the tornadoes that have hit this year. I'm slowly learning to search for those miracles hidden in the middle of tragedy, and focus on the goodness in people, in the world, in God's miracles, instead of the pain and fear.
I'm trying to break my cycle of cynicism. Want to help me? Share a miracle story? In the midst of a struggle, has God touched you with a reminder of His love? Give us a boost and remind us of God's power and love.
Labels: human kindness, rescues, tornado