Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Hurry up July!

It's been 5 weeks since the tornado.
I am still living with M's co-worker. Hopefully, not for much longer. That might sound mean, but I really just want my own place to live. My own space. Not worrying about if I'm bothering someone.

So what's happened in the week or so since I've written last? Almost nothing. Our insurance company still hasnt given us our settlement check. We'll be paying yet another mortgage payment on a house that doesnt even exist anymore.

Oh yeah. They demo'd our house last Friday. I had to leave when they started tearing down J's room. And it sounded awful. Breaking wood, glass... I could only think of how horrible the destruction sounded crashing down around my husband and daughter during that terrible storm.

Also, this isnt over yet. I drove through town like a million times the other day. It was bad. I'm tired of the dusty dirty smell of town. I'm tired of all the brown, splintery wasteland. You can look down sidestreets and it seems like you're looking over the edge of the world. The blackness of night is almost indescribable. Like driving through Kansas at 2am. Just black. Desolate. What remains of the hospital shines on the horizon. I almost expect zombies to attack when I'm down on 20th street. This is what the world will look like someday. After a bomb, or not. Just some day. Broken, dirty, desolate. Lonely. It breaks my heart. Every. Day.

It'll get better at some point. I just wish I knew when.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Patience and Grace

I have come to realize many things these last 3 weeks. Things like, how good people really can be. How much I love my family and how much they love me.

There is evidence of God's grace all around me. He is answering prayers all the time. We will have a home soon. Temporary yes, but a home. My dad, Beth and Russ, they have found homes. Churches from all over the country are sending teams to Joplin to help do anything that victims need. God is pouring out His love on this city, through organizations, people, HIS church, from near and far away. He is opening hearts to give generously. He is providing people with hearts that want to give, to help, to just be there for us.

We were singing a song "All I have is Christ" last week. By the end of the song, I'd had a revelation. THis is not a song to be sung in mourning! I had been singing it as if He was all I had left. My house is gone, all I have is Christ. That's not right. It is to be sung with gladness! ALL I have is Christ. Nothing else matters. One day, everything will look like my poor destroyed house. But Jesus never changes. He is the only constant. Forever.

And so. I'm passing the days in our room, mostly. Sort of regretting that I had told Kohls that I was only available for ad sets. Working during the day would give me something to do.

I'm kind of bored. Zoe sleeps a lot. I feel bad for her... she doesnt really get to run around the backyard. She's on a leash all the time. Our new place wont have much for a backyard, either. We'll figure something out.

Maybe I'll even get to start a new herb garden. Or plant some flowers. I hope so.

We'll see.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

God and Elephants

Two amazing things happened today.

1. There is a little girl who is knitting as many elephants as she can before the 17th, and she's asking people to pledge to donate money per elephant she makes. Proceeds go to the Red Cross in Joplin, elephants are going to some very lucky children in Joplin. This little girl is such a blessing. I thanked them for what they are doing, and they offered to donate yarn to me. I am overwhelmed by the love I am feeling from fellow knitters! <3 Thank you "Elephants Remember Joplin."

2. My realtor called today. One of her rentals is freeing up this month, and we are at the top of her list of possible tenants. Thank you Jesus! Thank you, thank you! I cannot even begin to praise as much as is deserved. The evidence of grace is overwhelming. God is good!

Monday, June 6, 2011

2 weeks.

I am sitting here waiting for the gas company to call me back so I can ask them what my balance is, and to shut off our gas (which spewed out of our meter for days after the tornado). I have finished with the electric and water companies. Spending almost an hour on the phone between the two. I will need more minutes on my phone soon.

It's hard to believe that the tornado hit two weeks ago. Since then, we have dug out as much as we can. Clothes survived, some didnt. Sweaters are ruined. The dishes in my dishwasher survived, and so did most of the stuff in my lower cabinets. I lost all of my yarn, but did find my knitting needles. We found our wedding album. There is no reason for us to go back to the house for awhile. The last time we were there, we stayed for all of 10 minutes. I just cant handle it anymore.

I miss my house.

I miss the feeling of being Home. It's the worst at night and after work. Because now I have to go to someone else's home. Try not to be noisy on the staircase. Make myself sleep when I'm not tired. Sometimes I can lay in bed and daydream about going home. Finding my husband and doggy asleep on the couch, while netflix plays on the tv. Making myself a snack in my kitchen. Smelling fresh mowed grass on the wind blowing through the kitchen window. The feel of the cool ceramic tiles on my feet. I want to listen to my daughter practicing her piano. I want to play with my dog in the backyard. I want to smell my rosemary growing near the deck. I want to cook in my kitchen.

I want to go home.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The world is upside-down

On May 22nd, 2011 at 5:45pm, my life changed forever.

I went to work early that evening. The sky to the west was black and ominous. Walked into the store and stopped to talk to my boss. She told me about a dream she had 2 days prior about us all standing at the windows and watching a tornado coming. Or going. I cant remember. I actually couldnt remember what I had done the entire day before going to work, until my husband told me later on.

5 minutes after I get to work, we are all coralled into the customer service/bathroom/breakroom area, under a tornado warning for our area. I went and logged on to one of the computers to check the radar. Other's had the news on in the breakroom. Calls started coming in on people's phones that a tornado had touched down somewhere in town, but they couldnt tell us exactly where it was. I just assumed it was somewhere on the edge of town, like always. Tornados never go through Joplin. Just around it.

About 20 minutes later, we are cleared to leave customer service and resume our work positions. I decide to try to give my husband a call. At the same time, someone reports that the Home Depot in town was gone. If a tornado hit coming from the west (which it would have) then that meant there was a good possibility that my house was in it's path. I live almost in a direct line west of Home Depot. I try calling my husband. Cell phone is going to voice mail. The house phone is busy. I try over and over. Finally, fear sets in. What if my house got hit? What if my husband is dead?! My daughter?!! I tell my boss that I cant get a hold of him. I tell her that I have to leave. I clock off and rush to my car. From the parking lot, you cant even tell that there had been a tornado in town.

I drive down one of the major streets. Traffic is insane. So I go down a side street. I travel about 5 blocks and start seeing trees down. My friend calls and asks if we're okay. I dont know if we are okay. I dont know if my family is okay. I keep driving and the damage gets worse and worse. I'm between tears and freaking out. I dont know whether to cry or to scream, or to mourn the loss of my family.

Finally, I cant go any further. There is a huge tree in my way. I realize that I am on the same street that my dear friends Beth and Russ live on. I see their house. It doesnt have a roof on it. I ditch my car, and run to their house, around trees, over power lines, up their steps. I scream their names. Beth walks out of a back room, clutching her 3 month old baby, and she has a look of horror on her face. Her front door wont open, and I'm on their porch. I just want to hug her. All I can hear are smoke detectors and car alarms, people screaming each other's names. I run to the back of their house, go inside and hug Beth. Nothing else feels real. She asks me if I'm okay. If my family is okay. I dont know if they are. Am I?

I start getting texts from J's dad. He's asking me if M and J are okay. I still dont know. I tell him I'm headed home. He is headed there too. Beth's mom shows up, then Russ's parents. I need to go home. Russ comes with me. We drive as far as we can, and then decide to ditch the car and walk. The world is wet, beeping, smells like gas, wood, and rain. People are crying, people are everywhere, and I want to hug everyone. We take on a girl who has to get to Rangeline. We walk down a road by a park. Trees are uprooted. Big trees. Power lines are all over the place. Gas meters are hissing. Stuff is beeping.

We finally hit 20th street and start toward my house. I cant tell where we are. Everything is wood, splinters, trees are stripped of their bark. Cars are upside down. People everywhere. I finally get a text from J's dad saying that they are okay. Thank Jesus!!

Russ asks me if I lived by a shop. I said yes. Apparently we were on my street. We walk and walk and finally I'm standing in my drive way. I can hardly tell it's my house. I fall to my knees and cry. I cant believe that my family walked away from it alive. But they arent there. I must see them.

Russ and I part ways. I go on foot to M's parent's house. They arent there either! Finally they know where I am and come tearing down the street to the house. My husband is out of the van before it even stops moving. I hug him. I touch him and cling to him and never want to let him go.

And that's where things are a blur. I dont get to see J until 10pm that night. And she seems like the best thing I've ever laid eyes on.

Life since has been a dream. I still wish I would wake up from it. My house has been dug through, dismantled. My city is a wasteland, split in two. With a big gash in the middle. A gash that is dry and dusty. Full of insulation. Empty and hopeless.

But not hopeless. I have a great hope. His name is Jesus. His plans are perfect, and he knows what they are. We are in this for his purpose. And his purpose is always good.