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**