May 22, 2011 Joplin, Missouri EF5 Tornado
Posted on an old and worn billboard just north of Ozark Christian College in Joplin, MO is a poem by Alexander Pope that many times I’ve driven by and pondered the depth of the meaning, wanting only to relate. It reads,
“Vice is a monster of so frightful mien
As to be hated needs to be seen;
Yet seen to oft, familiar with her face,
We first endure, then pity, then embrace.” ~ Alexander Pope
We crossed town that night following the tornado… crossing main street is when shock set in. We realized that the one child we did have in the house might not
have stood a chance. My husband jumped from the Suburban 12 blocks from our house and ran. I drove over electric lines, past blown gas lines, and across debris; popping the tire on our Suburban.
None of our children were injured. We weren’t even home; we were at the new house we were moving to- right where the tornado started. We were lucky, blessed, whatever you’d like to call it. (I say blessed.)
We did lose our house and possessions in the tornado though. Our address was 2130 S Ozark; which is now a level lot. No more baby pictures, no more special sentiments passed through our family for generations. No more of what we’d worked our short lives to build up.
I spent the next 7 days away from my work, mostly; coming in dirty and only to handle emails and calls that were completely necessary. Looking back at the things I do and do not remember I realize I was in shock. (I was also nine months pregnant.) The 8th day I rested; the 9th had a baby girl.
In the next months I found myself very edgy, jumpy, and wrought with questions. We replaced possessions; we explained again and again to a young girl that her house was gone, and that she would never see it again. I cried off and on over the sense of loss I felt. I went back weekly to try to salvage more… whatever that was; whatever I could find. The family pictures, sentimental baby clothes, and Christmas ornaments that had been handed down at least four generations; some more than 100 years old, were the most difficult things to lose.
Moving on… vice is a monster, “mien” is defined in the Merriam Webster as “air or bearing especially as expressive of attitude or personality”. Westboro Baptist says that’s why God chose to hit Joplin, MO with calamity…. They believe our city carries attitudes that brought this calamity. I don’t believe that at all. While vice is a monster… mien has been, and always will be the carry through to battle vice.
In shock I endured.
In pity I grieved.
And in the outpouring of kindness, blessing, valor; I EMBRACED.
Praise God my Father through Jesus Christ for all the events during this tragedy and after His hand rested upon. Thank you to all the volunteers local and nationwide that have helped, and continue to help Joplin, MO. Your continued concern lifts our moral and spirits as we watch city become again. – Abby Kittrell (Joplin, Mo.)
Also from Mia Kaminsky…
Thought I’d share this today on the blog, even though it’s already posted on the site here elsewhere. Abby Kittrell, the owner here, was among the first to experience the effects of the May 22nd F5 tornado that hit Joplin. We were all affected in so many ways. This is without a doubt some of the best footage I’ve seen. Almost 5 months later this still brings tears to my eyes as I remember the horror of this day. But Joplin is made up of some strong, willful people, and nothing will bring us down. With help from all over the nation and even the world, we are rebuilding to be stronger than ever.
Currently the Extreme Home Makeover Crew is here in Joplin, building brand new homes for 7 very deserving families. I’ve had the pleasure of knowing one of the families, and they are so beautiful. Never in my life have I met more humble, talented, honest, genuine people who are so ready to help those in need. And now they are receiving more than they ever would have asked for.
With all the heart we have here at E Market, we thank you. We thank our clients for supporting Joplin in so many ways. We thank our community for being strong. We thank everyone who has prayed, given support, sent money, helped physically with rebuilding… It’s all so valuable.
Untitled from KOMU News on Vimeo.