I spent this morning looking at pictures out of Joplin, MO. The most deadly tornado in 60+ years hit there on Sunday night.
I spent most of last night in my basement with my husband and three sleeping children as storms swept through Indiana with hurricane force winds and at least three tornado touchdowns (nothing too close to us, thankfully).
Tornadoes are a part of life in the Midwest. I know the drills, I'm all to familiar with the sound of sirens, my youngest asks me if a "tomato" is coming when we troop down to the basement, I can interpret radar images with the best arm-chair meteorologists, and I have plenty of brush-with-tornado stories.
I once pulled my car over on the side of a highway, jumped onto the floor of my backseat, curled into a ball and rode out five terrifying minutes of hail pelting my car as it rocked back and forth in the winds. I've huddled in laundry rooms, bathrooms, basements, and inner hallways as storms pass. I cradled a sleeping baby in my arms in a bathtub with pillows around and on top of us. I've watched a tree being cut off of my swing set, which was reduced to an inch of metal.
But I've never seen anything like Joplin, MO. The swath of complete devastation is heart wrenching. It is the worst nightmare of anyone who lives in tornado country. It is entire neighborhood flattened. It is families ripped apart. It is the total loss of possessions. It is the unthinkable loss of family members, friends and neighbors.
Of course, Joplin was not the only town devastated by tornadoes recently. In fact, the storm that swept through Indiana last night had over 60 tornadoes credited to it by the time it reached our boarders. But for some reason, Joplin has touched my heart deeply. Perhaps I can see myself and my town in them.
So, I'm just putting this one little plea for help out there. Consider, if you will, donating to the American Red Cross. And remember to be thankful for all you have today.