Friday, September 30, 2011

Needing Comfort

You might remember that an EF5 tornado hit our community four months ago. The reality is that although many were not directly hit, everybody in Joplin and the surrounding communities was impacted. I was reminded of that today.

You see, we were among the lucky ones. Our house was well outside the "zone" and was fine. My son who has just started kindergarten goes to school in a neighboring district, so we aren't dealing directly with any relocated schools. Our daycare had minor damage that amounted to it being closed for three days, but since May 26th all has been close to normal. Our church did sustain damage, but we are worshipping in a sister church and our offices were outside the damage so my daily work routine isn't change much. Although we are still out of our church building for worship (and any meeting with more than eight people!), we will be returning in November so the end is in sight.

So, as you see, our household was affected but in minor ways. Yes, we talk about tornado damage routinely. At any gathering it's not unusual for my five-year-old's first question to be, "So how many of these people lost their houses in the tornado?" And yes, both my and my husband's routines have been disrupted as there are more demands on us now. Yes, my children are certainly aware of what's going on.

However, I found myself surprised when my five-year-old pulled a bag of goodies out of his bag when I picked him from school today.

"Look what I got!" he said. And he started pulling items out of a plastic bag: stuffed animal, notebook, bubbles, playdoh, fruit snacks, and more.

"What's that for?" I asked.

"I don't know," he replied, handing me some papers.

COMFORT FOR KIDS it read across the top

Comfort for kids? I read on. This bag of terrific things was a care kit from the Council of Churches of the Ozarks with comments about each items included and how it can help children cope with stress and anxiety. There were additional (wonderfully written) flyers and pamphlets about dealing with emotions of traumatic times, specifically tornadoes.

And I wanted to cry.

My kids were fortunate. Their bedrooms didn't blow to the next county. While one of their preschool friends is moving back into his house this weekend, they have been in their rooms every night since the tornado.

But this little bag was a reminder that they are affected, too. And a reminder that others were so much more affected.

I celebrate that entities like the Council of Churches put together such gifts for children.

I'm sad that any children - mine or yours or anyone's - need them.

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