Saturday, May 28, 2011

Joplin: my aftermath

I'm a thrower away-er. I know that about myself. If I find a box of things in the closet from years ago, chances are that at least 98% of it will be thrown away minutes later. I don't know why. I guess for the same reason that some people are keepers.

God bless my sister. She's a keeper. If she finds a box of old things in the closet 98% of it is staying in the house. It almost doesn't matter what it is.

I guess its just something inside of you. Its not just stuff in a closet that makes me that way. I'm that way in life too. Experiences, relationships, memories. If I don't need it to carry on, its almost like it didn't even happen. I know its not really functional, but it had been working ok for me for the last twenty-seven years.

Why is this coming up now? Well, I said I would process the Joplin tornado emotionally in time. The problem is,  I couldn't, because a lot of Joplin, for me, was already thrown away. I had given it only the status of "the place where my family still lived." I had forgotten, or chosen to "throw away" the fact that I was born there, learned to ride a bike there, learned to play sports there, learned to kiss boys there, learned to drive there and graduated there. Learned to be a friend and a sister and daughter and a student and a competitor there. And a million other things that have made me who I am. I didn't give it any credit. I've been gone for ten years now and I had chosen to throw it away for Fayetteville, and eventually Kansas City. I have just recently learned that Kansas City is my home, but Joplin is still my hometown.

I'm sorry, Joplin. I'm sorry I left you in the dust a long time ago and now I am regretting it. Your people and your memories and even your buildings (now many are lots with piles of debris) are being newly kept by me. Not because you need me, but because I need you. Joplin is not where I live now, but its part of who I am and I have to be willing to embrace that. I'm going to be learning what that looks like over the next days and months and years as I learn what my role is in the restoration of my home town: Joplin, MO.


  1. love how you process. and love even more that you share it with us. beautiful.

  2. I'm also a throw-awayer and I completely understand.