This is a simple story of a simple family trying to slow down this crazy life and enjoy the "moments"...

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Making a Home...

For a few days this week we've been lucky enough to have a sweet young girl from Austin staying with us.

(And if I stop and think how annoyed I am that I can call a 28 year old "young" then I'll never finish this post.  Grrrr.)

She has joined her family and a church group who are here in Joplin for the 3rd or 4th time to help different people do some rebuilding after the tornado.

So this group is here for a WHOLE WEEK.

Some of them have taken vacation time from work and others who are so so bloody young that they might as well be in diapers are giving up their spring break to come to Joplin and simply help wherever they are needed.

How cool is that?

Nine and a half months later....Joplin is still remembered.

People still want to come and help.

But the not-quite-as-cool-part is....

There are still people who need help.

Going on 10 months is a pretty big chunk of time.
Seems like things should be settled and back to normal by now.
Seems like people should have their properties cleared off and be....if not TOTALLY done building....then at least pretty close.

But that's just not how it is.

So this whippersnapper volunteer and I were chatting about some of their projects and some of the people that I know around here.

One family had been renting their home on May 22nd.

The house was very very badly damaged.
The owner said he didn't plan to repair it, but offered to give the damaged building and the land it was on to this family.
They had never been in a position to own land...much less a house before...and were thrilled to accept his gift.


They have been working since May to fix THEIR house.

Both parents work full-time, but every weekend and almost every night after work they have been gutting and rebuilding and repairing and who-the-heck-knows what else to make this wreck into their family home.

But you know how it goes...
when they are working a lot the money's there to buy supplies but they don't have time to use them.
And when the work slows down they have time to do the work but the supplies run out.

So this great group of volunteers has gone in to conquer all of the downstairs sheet rock.

They are spending their days  hanging, sanding, mudding, taping and eventually painting something that would have taken this family of 3 months to complete.

The family is beyond grateful.  In fact, the woman told me that she hopes there is enough for the volunteers to do while they are here.  She said the next step is putting down some flooring...but they aren't able to purchase that quite all they can "offer" the volunteers as a job is the sheet rock.

Then there's another guy the volunteers are helping.

He bought this old home and sunk a BUNCH of money into fixing it last year.
He had just put the final appliance (a stove) into the kitchen on May 22nd.
He cooked a lovely lunch on it....then watched it turn into splinters with the rest of his life that afternoon.

People are still trying to "get settled."
Find a secure home base.
Plant themselves somewhere "final."

I get it.

We still don't have our home base yet either.

Oh...we're doing just fine and blessed beyond measure....but I purposefully haven't re-planted any of the tulips and hyacinths I have because I haven't been sure where I'll be next spring.

(and yes...I realize that many people live their lives this way quite I'm not complaining...I'm just sayin' that my family is still bumping along to a not-quite-figured-out final destination homewise and that's just the way it is.  Period)

Let me explain.
Or confuse.

The dishwasher that came with this house stopped working.

We remembered that we had our other dishwasher (from the tornado-ed house) stored in the warehouse and that it was undamaged...and decided to switch it out into our current house.

Now we had done a big remodel on our kitchen 1 1/2 years before we were "evicted".
We had newish beautiful awesome fabulous appliances that made me embarrassingly happy.
Our current home has 15 year old ones that (except for the dishwasher) are quite serviceable.

So we popped my old new old new newer one into the kitchen.....and I ran a load of dishes.

They came out clean and warm and clean.

And the dishwasher made a smell that smelled like our old house.

And the dishes were clean.

And I got totally teary eyed.

Now I realize I am on the lame side of life....but I honestly don't think I'm such a dork (no comments necessary on this part thanks) that well-cleaned dishes leave me va-clempt.

It's just that...
for a second....
I felt like I was home.

And maybe when that family of 3 has their dry wall up and painted the same color as their old bedroom....
....they will feel like they're home.

And maybe when that guy gets to turn on his old/new stove for the first second time...
....he will feel like he's home.

I know....maybe more than anyone....that home is where love surrounds you.
Where your family and your heart are.

But "home" is also...
smells and
memories and
random little things like...
certain pictures being placed next to each other or
your favorite broken-in pillow or
being able to walk to the kitchen in the dark because the way is so familiar.

So hooray.
Hooray and big kudos to these volunteers.

They are willing to give up the comforts of THIER homes....
to help rebuild people's homes here.

The media hype has died down, the cameras are gone, Samaritan's Purse and Tide's Loads of Hope moved on....
but these people came back.

I think that is just plain awesome.