A True Miracle

Posted On: 05.24.11

Yesterday morning, the tiny one and I were up early. As per usual, I watched MSNBC while feeding my girl. I watched a report on the tragic tornado in Joplin, Missouri. The images were of course ghastly and otherworldly, the destruction almost not believable. From my perch on the family room couch, it all seemed surreal. And I literally thought to myself: I feel so distant from these things, these terrible things, because I have no personal connection to them.

Well, as fate would have it, it turns out this time was different. This was not just another in the litany of awful natural disasters that has been splashed across my screens of late. I do indeed have a personal connection to this event.

My aunt and three cousins were in Joplin during the tornado. I don’t know all the details – they are coming in bits and pieces still – but all four of them survived. From what I have heard (and I will correct these details if I learn differently), my cousin and her boyfriend crouched in a closet during the storm and when they came out, the entire house around them was gone. My aunt and two other cousins clung to each other in a bathtub. One was blown through a window into a parking lot and my aunt and my other cousin shot through the ceiling.

What matters today is that they are all alive. Being treated at various hospitals in the area.

I’ve never been a big believer in miracles, but that’s beginning to change. This? This was a miracle.

Today I’m think of my Mom’s family, of all the other survivors of this tragedy, and of those who were not so fortunate.


Do natural disasters seem real to you or does it take a personal connection to believe that they happened? Do you believe in miracles?

**For every comment left here today (5/24/11) before 11pm EST, I will donate $2 to the American Red Cross’s Missouri Tornado and Flood Relief**

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15 Comments for: "A True Miracle"
  1. I think I am better about stopping and really reflecting on the depths of these tragedies now that I’ve become a mother. I always think about how I would try to keep my kids safe and agonize over how I might feel if I hadn’t been able to.

    I’m so glad your family is okay. I will hold them and all of the people of Joplin in my heart.

  2. Whitney

    I guess I like to think I have empathy for these people in these situations, but the truth is, I have no idea whatsoever what they are going through. I cannot imagine having my home AND the whole rest of my town just wiped out like that. It’s unfathomable. I saw a mom and daughter on CNN last night who are looking for their son/brother. The father is in the hospital, and the boy (who had JUST completed his high school gradation ceremony 30 minutes prior to the tornado) was missing. They were hearing that he is alive, they just can’t find which hospital he was transferred to. The two seemed genuinely put together and even happy. Like maybe they were looking for their puppy or something (a puppy they weren’t very attached to, even). It was incredibly strange, but then I had to remind myself that I have no idea what they are thinking or feeling or if they are going to absolutely lose it once the camera is off them. I don’t know if they had just received the news that he’s alive and so had been rejoicing just moments before, hence their happiness. I don’t know if they are just trying to make it through the next minute, 10 minutes, hour, or day without having an utter meltdown.

    Maybe they were just happy to be alive.

  3. I think we insulate ourselves to “not go there” when it doesn’t affect us directly. When I see the damage I can turn the other cheek (I’m horrible) but when I stop and think of a person’s whole life wiped away or see an older couple interviewed, clearly shaken beyond words, I can’t ignore it. I hope your family members are alright.

  4. Angela

    It is so tragic and we can but image what it must have been like, and yes we do feel distant when we feel we have no connection to it.

    I can only pray for all the families today in Joplin for the survivors and the ones not so fortunate.

    Your family are also in my prayers, miracles happen everyday.

  5. I often wonder if this age of information technology makes us less sympathetic… the images we see are often so overwhelming, they too often seem like a clip from the next upcoming blockbuster “disaster movie”. I do think that it can take a personal connection, to a person, a place, or having experienced something similar, to grip the enormity of what the people are going through.

    And call it a miracle, or a guardian angel watching over someone, or whatever you like, but I do believe that things happen that can’t be explained any other way.

    Hopes and prayers for a speedy recovery for your loved ones and all who survived this tragedy in Joplin.

  6. I have friends in Joplin. I drive through Joplin every time I visit my parents. This all feels very real to me. Thanks for calling additional attention to this issue, and for your generous donation.

  7. AG

    It is hard to relate to a tragic event like that when you do not have a personal connection because it is of such great magnitude I think most people just can’t even comprehend it. But now through you, all of your readers (me included) have a personal connection. I bet if more people talked about things like this not at the news level but at the personal level we would all find we are not that far removed from situations like this than we think. I would be curios how many of your readers do have a personal connection to this? I read an article on the Tsunami after that really humanized the disaster by talking about stories of individual people.

    Thank you for your thoughtful donation. Your family is in my prayers along with all of the other people involved in Joplin.

  8. Jess

    I can’t even imagine hiding in a bathtub with my babies and riding out a storm like this. It is beyond terrifying to think about. Your family is so lucky, I hope they all recover smoothly and quickly.

  9. Prayers for your family. I know what you mean about feeling disconnected- there seems to be so many things to care about these days, it’s hard to give away pieces of your heart every time you turn on the news. And what about the places we don’t hear about? It’s overwhelming. It does take the personal touch, the personal story to turn a flash of images into something that we can understand. That’s why words are so important, whether it’s yours here or someone else’s, words that can illuminate and try to provide a connection. Thanks for the donation.

  10. Praying for your family and for all the others in Joplin.

  11. TJ

    Glad to hear your family is ok. i shake my head at myself every time I get a reminder of the preciousness of our lives–even when they are messy, tangled and confusing. I/we are so lucky to have those lives and yet we so often take them for granted…until another reminder like this.

  12. Joanne

    It was horrible to get the phone call that our relatives were in Joplin in the middle of the tornado. It seemed like a replay of the tornadoes in Alabama on 4/27. They did not hit our city directly, but areas all around us. We know people who have damage and friends whose children attend the University of Alabama. Thankfully, all we knew were spared. I can’t imagine how these people rebuild their lives when all around them is destroyed – they don’t call it the Bible Belt for nothing. God will see them through.

  13. My heart breaks when I see the destruction and I want you to know Australians stand united with you all in prayer and help as much as we can in the same way that you all stood with us during our natural disasters earlier this year.

  14. I don’t need a personal connection – all I need is to hear one story about a fallen person and my heart will instantly ache for the family. Especially if a child is involved.

  15. Relieved to hear your family is doing fine. Thanks for thinking about the people of Joplin. We should all honor them by a moment of silence or donation or just appreciating the ordinary graces that life offers.

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