I drove through Joplin last month on the way back from a wedding. I scribbled down some thoughts, and I just found them again tonight. Pictures are courtesy of my friend Katy, who took these pictures as we drove by.
"Piles of trash that once made up homes – furniture, clothing, the house itself. Standing trees stripped bare of leaves, patches of white where even the bark was ripped clean. Their arms, snapped to stubs, reach to the sky in silent plea for aid. A billboard is folded neatly in half like a sheet of paper instead of a tower of steel. Addresses written in spray paint shout from the remaining walls of houses, identifying the remnants. The streets are clean but lined in mounds of dirt and branches, twisted bars of metal, flakes of concrete, single cement blocks, shreds of cloth. There’s a car, windshield splintered into a spider web of cracks and hood pounded flat.
"I’m amazed at how things are so quickly converted to the all-encompassing word “rubble.” Whatever value they held, is, in an instant, obliterated. Family pictures, plasma screen televisions, heirloom dining room tables, laptops, Gucci jeans – once the tornado caught hold of them, they lost all shape, all substance, all worth. Everything is twisted and shredded and ground into a homogenous mess without use or purpose. Rubble. It doesn’t matter what you paid for it, how many generations old it was, what it meant to you. Now, it’s nothing."
Hope - to believe that what's gone is not truly lost.