I spent the better part of my morning reading about and viewing pictures of Joplin, Missouri. The devastation there is so thorough and stark. People have compared it to wartime bombing damage. It is crazy and sad and too close to home. Tornadoes and floods and droughts are affecting my family and friends all across the Midwest.
It is hard not to feel helpless and desolate. It is hard not to feel guilty that others are experiencing loss and hardship and sorrow while I sit in my comfortable, intact, air-conditioned home living my blessed life.
Not too many minutes after I started my reading, other things started popping up: donation drives, calls for prayers, stories of Eagle Scouts and regular citizens stepping up to help everyone around them, community action groups gathering up resources and combining them to make the biggest impact for the most good.
I felt guilty this morning, because when the tornado hit Joplin, I had just finished celebrating my daughter's birthday, and we were all snug and safe and sleeping in our comfortable home. Seeing other people suffer makes it hard for me to not feel guilty because I am not suffering, and I cannot help theirs.
I am not grateful for devastation. But I am grateful for the greatness of the human heart. I am grateful for the prayers and concern and dedication of personal resources to people we have never met simply because they are people in need. There is so much good in this world. It doesn't just show up when disaster strikes. That just seems to be when it comes into the sharpest focus.
I am grateful for the opportunity to inventory my life and my blessings, and sincerely feel them, and thank God again. My blessing do not lessen the significance of adversity in the lives of others; tragedy in other places does not make my blessing less legitimate.
God bless the people of Joplin, and everyone who is reaching out to them.
What are you blessed with today?