Friday, May 27, 2011

Tornado Tragedy and Hope

    I woke up early Monday morning and decided to check my Facebook page before going to work. I noticed some of the chatter coming from my nieces’, living in the Mid-west, seemed to be about finding missing friends. Horrified, I learned about the devastating tornado that wiped out ¾ of the town of Joplin, Missouri. I called my sister-in-law, who lives north of Joplin and was reassured that they were OK but a nephew barely survived, as he worked in the Joplin Walmart that was now mainly rubble. He lost his home and cars, but was safe and reunited with his family. The only one unaccounted for was a great-nephew who lived in a 3-story apartment which was flattened. We learned that he was not home at the time the tornado struck, which was an F5 tornado, one of the strongest deadliest tornados.

Great nephew Jay searches for belonging after tornado destroys his apartment.
The only thing found was his late dad's baseball glove, something to treasure.

His story is reported here.

   God is good. We had some stories of hope in this tragedy. One great-niece was to be married this weekend in Joplin. She had her wedding dress in the town Bridal shop. Although the shop was destroyed, there was one lone wedding dress hanging on a hanger. Lo and behold, it was hers. Her story with her fiance as they search for his sister right after the tornado is on video via this link, interviewed by Anderson Cooper of CNN. Be sure to see the video from this link.

    Another great-niece was to be married the week after. She was staying with her parents until the wedding and unfortunately, her parent’s home was destroyed. Nevertheless, she was able to recover all of her wedding stuff. When one goes through an ordeal like this, it makes us ask “Why, God?” “How is one to celebrate happiness when so many are so sad from this type of devastation”. She had thought of cancelling her wedding. However, many reassured her that it would give hope to see a new marriage start in the midst of tragedy. I believe it will strengthen the family bond and God will bless this couple as they go on to commit to one another in love.

     There are so many untold stories that show what the spirit of the heartland is all about. We Americans pull together in times of tragedy. This heartland is well known for its strong faith in God and well anchored Christian values. There is no second thought to acting on God’s commandment to “Love one another”. My niece, who is a Nurse Practicioner, has been volunteering her time working at the a local church performing first aid and helping to meet the needs of those who are now homeless or injured. There are many more volunteers that are unsung heros and have chosen to make a difference in this tragedy. I thank the Lord that he loves us and has put a spirit of love in us. May God always bless us all.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Nurture vs Nature

We are approaching Mother’s Day again. I had a chance to take my mother out to dinner, just the two of us. I was thinking how rare we’ve had in the past to talk about girly things over the last few years. Why is this? Until now, my whole life has focused so much on the men in my life; my father, my brothers, my husband and my sons. Life didn’t leave much time for female stuff. And now, I find myself back to being a female again. I have time for myself. I have a granddaughter to play dolls with. It is a much different mothering, than I am used to, but perhaps I should be thankful I have this opportunity.

I am feeling better about myself. Did I somewhat loose part of my femininity trying to compete and survive in a man’s world? I am discovering the beauty inside myself and around me. I have a chance to do the things my nature calls for in nurturing in a gentle way. I don’t have to prove anything to anyone other than myself and to please God.

Life is just too short to have each moment planned out. There is much you miss this way. I am now letting life unfold before me as a bud opens into a beautiful rose bloom. My friend C recently gave me the largest Florabunda blooming rose I have seen. It was gorgeous and touched my heart greatly. It was hard not to notice the lovely fragrance as well as the sweet peach color. It made me appreciate the nurturing she gave me and has given me over the last months since I lost my husband. I know we will be great friends and for once this mother is allowing myself to be nurtured as well as nurture others. I have missed this and this is one thing I have needed in a long time. I have not had a sister but she comes very close to one.

Mother’s Day not only makes me think of nurturing by women but also the nurturing that men are capable of that is a hidden character trait they should not fear to demonstrate. To some this makes them seem unmanly. However, to us women it makes us honor them more than ever with love and admiration in their manhood. Isn’t this how God is? I see my son gently interacting and patiently listening to his two children. Right now he is acting as mother and father and is doing a great job caring for them. I see another man friend helping to bring a bed-ridden female friend to church, generously giving of his time helping her to gain her independence. If more men would be like these self-sacrificing men, the world would be a better place.

Wouldn’t it be great to celebrate Nurturing Day at least once a year? Better still, nurturing should be celebrated every day.