This week, a small city less than three hours from my house suffered the deadliest tornado in the 60-year history of tornado tracking. Today, a town about 90 minutes away was hit and suffered serious damage. Although I do not have friends or family living in either of these towns, I do have friends and family all over Missouri and in the path of these storms.
I remember how the country reacted when Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans. Husband and I participated in my company's giving program, which generously matched employee donations. And then our involvement consisted of hearing about the disaster on the news. It was sad, sure -- tragic. But it was hardly close to home. We didn't know anyone who was affected, and we didn't live in fear of hurricanes.
This week's disasters have shaken me much more. The landscapes shown on the news are familiar. Sedalia is the home of our state fair, and Joplin housed the volleyball state tournaments I competed in for several years. And today, I holed up in my basement with my family and baby, waiting for more storms to pass over right here.
As scary as it is to be in the midst of a natural disaster, I think it's good to experience once in a while. It heightens your sense of compassion, your empathy for those who do suffer in the wake of the havoc. And for me, it made me grateful for my safety. Today, I came out unscathed while scores of others in my home state lost family, homes, possessions, and more. There is no guarantee that I will always be spared a loss, but every avoidance is a victory and a blessing.