I Remember May 22

FullSizeRender (56)“He remembers” 105:8

May 22, 2011 would initially be just another a busy Sunday. Getting ready for a busy day of church and ladies fellowships and packing for our move to Joplin and getting ready for a huge sale…but I would not remember all that if it were not for something else that day would bring.

At 5:34 pm an EF-5 tornado, ½- ¾ miles wide wiped out 13 miles of Joplin. It was on the ground for over 22 miles, destroying 7000+ homes and taking 161 lives. Those specifics; I remember.

I remember at 4:30, standing with my kids and their friend in the yard of the house we would close on the very next day. That house was destroyed in the first neighborhood this tornado would touch down. I remember negotiating with my daughter to skip I-Hop and grab Sonic and head back to Carthage. Bill White ushered 30 plus people into the back freezer before the tornado leveled the restaurant. I remember my unusual north route back to Carthage and irritation that I’d missed my exit because I just “really want to get home”; the tornado took its 13 ravaging miles on a southern/middle route of Joplin. I remember the gasp I let out days later, realizing God’s sovereign orchestration of our safety that day.

I remember sitting in my neighbors kitchen at 5:10, celebrating her daughters Keely’s high school graduation. The TV was reporting tornados and her grandparents were concerned about the drive back to Kansas. I remember vaguely listening to the warnings; I am from the Midwest after all!

I remember running across our driveways in torrential hail. I remember I was barely in the door when the frantic phones call from Sarah about there “being no trees”. I remember her repeating it over and over, and how puzzled I was about those missing trees. I remember turning on the TV and searching for the weather Channel.I remember I was so frustrated because I never watch the weather channel and had no idea which one it was! I remember seeing the first camera shots from the hospital, the eery panning of the camera, the panic in the newsman’s voice. I remember, like it was this morning, my sinking feeling because Clint had a 5:00 shift that day. I remember my parents calling and then phone call after phone call from out of town friends.

We had 6 close friends lose their homes that day and I remember the numbness of their faces over the next several months.I remember their ominous silent tears that continually flowed. I remember Clint’s hauntingly sad eyes and his deafening silence because he couldn’t begin to verbalize what he saw in the ER that night.

I remember when I want to forget. I remember when I want to recall. Without even trying, we are people who remember. At the most basic level, we remember because the connections between our brains’ neurons change; each experience primes the brain for the next experience. But most importantly, because we are created in God’s image; we remember because he remembers!

Since God in faithfulness remembers us, we by faith remember God. We remember He is good. We remember His mercy. We remember He loves us deeply. We remember in His sovereignty, he is after His glory.

“He remembers his covenant forever, the word that he commanded, for a thousand generations” Psalms 105:8


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