I’ve never seen trees with scars—if we can call them that.  Scars seem to suggest that the majority of the skin is healthy with only the occasional mark.  What do we call skin that is nothing but scar?  That’s what the trees are like in Joplin.

But not just the trees.  The landscape is like this too—all scars.

I didn’t understand the word devastation until I came to Joplin.  Most people marvel at the statistics:143 deaths.  I marvel at the opposite.  I examine the homes and instead marvel that anyone survived.  The tornado swirls a home into a pile of splinters.  How do you survive that?

Under mattresses, in basements, clutching to loved ones.

Most residents of Joplin call themselves and their town lucky.

-lucky that they survived

-lucky that their family is alive

-lucky they found their daughter’s favorite Dora

-lucky that the tornado hit during graduation, when much of the town was out of the tornado’s path (the high school was not)

Some weren’t lucky.  Some were downright cursed.

The people of Joplin are scarred by their memory as well.  For now, most choose to look at the healthy skin that remains.  And that inspires me.

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