Old Directions, Anew

Priorities are something one should take out, dust off, and give a good once-over every so often. It’s healthy and reaffirming. It’s nice to know that you, yourself, still approve of what you’re doing, since you’re not likely to get that from anywhere else. The media will hound you, day after day, with messages designed to make you re-evaluate what you think and do. That, in and of itself is another rant for another time, but it’s still good to get that affirmation from yourself, if you can’t get it anywhere else.

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The Valley of the Shadow of Death

Today, this is on my mind:

Psalm 23
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever. (ESV)

This may be Trevor Morgan’s fault. Or maybe not. Either way, there are things to contemplate here. I think I know what the Valley of the Shadow of Death is. Or, rather, where. I think it is the streets of Joplin. If not, that must be what it looks like.

I promise I will stop posting depressing tornado stuff, just as soon as I get it all out of me. I take that back. I don’t know that I will ever get it all out of me. I will carry it with me throughout my days, I’m sure. Eventually, peace will return. Until then, I pray He will restore my soul … and my city.

Their Stories, Their Words

As I’ve read the stories and followed the media concerning the Joplin Tornado (I understand that is to become its “official” designation, according to Bill Davis of the National Weather Service), and they are heartbreaking, but also inspiring. It’s made me want to write more, because there is so much to be said. I’ve thrown around several ideas, some good, some not-so-good, but then it came to me: why not let these people tell their own stories? After all, it was their words that inspired me in the first place. So, I’ve collected some here for your perusal.

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Normalcy?

I’m back at work today (my day job), as many people are in Joplin. Many businesses are opening up, if they can. Joplin is trying to struggle back onto her feet. It’s admirable. Truly. But still a little strange. It’s hard to think of the things I do at work as important. There are so many people in need, and so many things that still need to be done. But we’ve still got donations coming in (my wife’s a super-hero, I gotta tell you!), and FEMA is here. The churches are helping with all sorts of needs … for the most part, I would just be in the way.
So, I’m working. It’s just … I really don’t know how to describe it. I just feel like I shouldn’t be here, but I don’t know where I should be.

The Aftermath: One Week In

It’s been a week.

One week since an EF5 tornado ripped right through my birthplace, Joplin, Missouri.

I don’t live in Joplin. I live roughly 10 miles to the north in a little town called Oronogo. It’s a suburb (of sorts) of a town called Webb City, which, in turn, is a suburb of Joplin. I have spent most of my life living in and around Joplin. For one year I lived in Chicago. Other than that, it’s been primarily Joplin or Webb City. So, technically, no, I don’t live in Joplin. But I do work in Joplin. I drive into Joplin almost every day. I know many people from Joplin.I was born in Joplin. I went to first grade in Joplin—at Alcott—only a few blocks from St. John’s Hospital, which was destroyed. I don’t know if the school survived, but the proximity tells me it probably didn’t. I went to college at Missouri Southern State University (which is currently serving as a shelter). With the exception of the time I was in Chicago, every paying job I’ve ever had was in Joplin.

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