My Joplin Visit: In Word & Video

4 Aug

Below is the blog that I wrote for my work website that I run.  I wanted to share it with you all as well.
Just two weeks ago I was in a 15 passenger van on my way to a new perspective on life. Along with 18 other members of my congregation from Trinity Lutheran Ministries in Edwardsville, IL, I ventured to Joplin, MO to lend a hand.
The moment we hit the tornado ravaged area my chest got tight and my hand found its way to my jaw-dropped mouth. Total devastation. The landscape resembled a war zone. The desolate neighborhoods sat quietly in heaps of dismantled construction material and piled debris. The magnitude of what had happened just two months ago was bleak to my eyes.
The imagery that is left behind in my mind from my experience in Joplin has caused a system reboot in my mindset. I am a conservative woman with a Christian heritage. I’ve been raised to respect God, Family, and Friends…in that order. I’ve realized that when the ancillary elements of our daily lives are uprooted and removed, we are left with just that – God, Family, and Friends. These are the things that make life worth living, and for the folks in Joplin, life worth rebuilding.
While our country is reeling in an economic crisis, it seems so evident to me what is needed to fix it. We’ve become a society of privilege. The things that we have in life determine the quality we have in life. And if one man’s things outweigh another man’s things, something should be done to reconcile the discrepancy. But when the tornado hits, and all is taken away, what is it that is left?  Is either man’s character or reputation taken along as well?  The American Dream is that of opportunity, sacrifice, and determination. And that Dream will be what makes either man successful once the storm has passed.
What happens when you remove all of the “things” in your life, what do you have left? What you have left is what is most important.
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