EF5:: 1 YEAR

   I feel like there may be folks looking to see what I have to say today. At first, I wasn’t going to say anything. After looking through the facebook feed, reading the articles, watching the news… it feels like saying anything is just adding noise. 

   But… I realized not saying at all didn’t feel right. (probably because I have a big mouth). So here is my novel… and yes, to warn you, it IS religious. I’m hoping in a meaningful way, not in an obvious and bible banging kind of way. 

1 year ago, a tornado ripped my town and my home apart. On the anniversary, I find myself just slightly struggling with my feelings. But not for the reasons you might think. 

I’m not sad.

I’m not having any emotional struggles with today. 

I’m just happy.

I don’t at all think there’s anything wrong with the other reactions. In fact, again, I feel strange for my own. But in the end, after a very hard and exhausting last year, I’m just thankful. 

I was in a group last sunday that was asked- what did we learn about God in the last year?

My response was that I learned God really, truly, can work through anything. ANYTHING.

Even nachos.

People ask, ‘were you home that night’?     ’nope’, I answer.

A semi trailer went through our living room… if we’d been home, we wouldn’t be here. Instead of being at home like we would have been ANY other sunday, we were at my mother in laws’, helping her finish off some leftover nachos. Yes, God saved us through leftovers.

That’s not that unique a story…. sift through countless, countless other stories of miracles. ‘I should’ve been home that night’. ‘I don’t know how I just walked out of there’. ‘If it had happened just a few hours later…’ When I stack my story on top of hundreds others, I know even deeper that my story is not a coincidence.

It’s not to say the deaths that occurred should be overlooked, and I am still saddened for those who lost loved ones that day. But consider how much larger that number should have been. It should have been 1601, not 161.

Joplin became an example after that day; everyone was watching the good that God worked through a terrible thing. that example inspired others, as the world saw strength being given to those who needed it, people bonding together like they never would have, and people given more than they had before. 

My family was one of those stories. no home. no belongings. no camera (therefore no way to even make a living). God- through kind souls- gave us back everything, and showed us what he can do and just how much good can come even out of something bad.

Now I feel like I have a better response for folks who ask the question, ‘how can God allow something bad to happen?’ Their real question beneath that is, ‘does God really have control?’ and the answer for me is, yes. he does. He does allow bad things to happen- it doesn’t mean he causes them to happen, and what’s important is realizing what he can do through such things.. And sometimes the result is even more important than the cause.

I know that whatever happens from here on out, it was supposed to. (even if it’s terrible). That’s a good feeling. For that lesson, I am thankful. 

My last note in this novel is that I’m making a novel. Ok, not a novel… really more a picture book… a book that will serve as a categorized collection of images I captured in the months after the storm. Though you’d think I’m in love with my words from the length of this post, I’m actually turning over the text in the book to someone that’s much better at it than I am. 

For those that remember… yes, I did originally say I’d have that book done by the 1 year anniversary, didn’t I? You caught me. It’s not ready, but it IS in the works. If you’re interested, stay tuned!

In the meanwhile, to look back on more of my perspective and to see some of the photos that will probably be in the pages of that book, you can click on the blog posts that I released a few months back, each addressing a different factor of the aftermath. 

Thanks for reading. And one last time… thanks for everyone that helped my family and our town in the last year. You have no idea the impact you had. 

EF5 :: part 1

EF5 :: part 2

EF5 :: part 3

EF5 :: part 4

EF5 :: part 5

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One comment

  1. Reblogged this on 9art photography – joplin, missouri and commented:

    third anniversary:: re:posting this post from 2 years ago (scroll to the bottom to get to links of my original, 2011 post-tornado photo series). Have no new thoughts to add, really… said it all best when the emotion and power of it all was still fresh. Just reminded, again, of how thankful I am.


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