Community Strong

This week’s post is dedicated to all those who have lost loved ones and pets, homes, businesses and other possessions after powerful tornadoes left paths of destruction in Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, Mississippi and Tennessee.”

Through the media, I have witnessed community resilience, response and recovery efforts during the dire situation this past weekend. For instance, one of the tornados ripped through and destroyed the Mayfield (KY) First United Methodist Church property. The pastor, Reverend Joey Reed and his wife, took shelter in the church basement and survived the catastrophic event.

During a TV broadcast interview, his gratitude for the safety of his wife and children prevailed. He said that things are replaceable; people are not.

In fact, the reverend further explained that the topic of “joy” was the theme he had planned for last Sunday’s sermon. Fortunately, he was still able to present the sermon during a service at another local church that the tornado bypassed. Interestingly, the only bulletin from Reverend Reed’s church that survived the calamity includes a synopsis of his sermon.

The sermon defines joy as something that is internal and thereby it is a permanent fixture for as long as we live. Happiness, on the other hand, is external and is fleeting.

“Joy is often mistaken for happiness, but happiness can change by a turn of events. Joy is something that abides. That’s what we’re holding onto,” Reverend Reed said.

In the same spirit of joy, although the parish has lost the sanctuary, he also stated, “That building was the repository of our memories. We have to remember that those memories still belong to us. They cannot be taken from us even by something as devastating as this tornado.”

I only hope that Clayton Cope’s parents, whose son would have turned 30 at the end of December, and all the other parents who lost young adult children at the Amazon warehouse in Edwardsville, Illinois, and children of all ages throughout the six effected states will manage to cherish their “repository of memories” as they now undertake the most unbearable journeys imaginable.

To these bereaved parents and to all the other survivors who are swallowed by grief in so many forms from this tragedy, I stand with you. I salute your bravery as you endure your faith walk. Always remember, the power of faith lies in the acceptance of our powerlessness.

Faith Muscle

7 thoughts on “Community Strong

  1. I really appreciate the reverend’s definition of joy on your post, Stacy. It was when joy came back into my heart that I was able to consider myself healed from grief over the loss of my child. Before that, I would always say it was a miracle that I “survived grief.” But with joy, I was able to set my bar a lot higher than simply surviving.
    Sometimes I’ve wondered if I’ve slipped when I’m not feeling as joyful. But joy is a pervasive feeling of satisfaction that permeates my life. I never ever believed that would ever happen for me again, but I know that with my rediscovery of music – everything changed and I’m so grateful. But with the explanation on your post – I realized that sometimes I’ve confused happiness with joy. Absolutely! It’s impossible to be happy every minute.
    I hope someday you will find a key to lead you through a door to joy again. Remember, it took me a very long time and every person is different. I just want you to cling to hope of that because I really believe you will find it. Your beautiful writing leads me to believe it.

  2. How can anyone argue with this, it would be morally repugnant to do so, no?

    Had you not wrote about it the ‘news item’ would have passed me by yet I suspect that each of us know of and fear this level of devastation too. I lost everything materially to fire a bit back so do get the internal machinations too of loss and being bewildered and in awe of the ferocity and speed of the devastation.

    The impossibility of such an event can be complete and absolute in its manifestation.

    And for sure the notion of our powerlessness holds ever so true in such events.

    Equally true though are the behavioural activations associated with experiencing adverse experiences, especially amongst the young although not exclusively so and it is here where the idea of a submission or acceptance of powerlessness requires careful handling

    Careful handling because natural catastrophes undoubtedly and largely without exception bring a social aspect governed by socio-legal responsibilities not first apparent in the immediate aftermath

    All too often remedial mitigation is actually known before hand, for instance, in the UK the first wave of deaths from Covid 19 killed 27,000 older people living in care homes.

    The call for mitigation against a pandemic was though called for as early as 2011 and then again in 2014. During which time the industry underwent a five fold increase in income from £8bn to £45bn.

    Aftermath does invoke a communal kindness often buried in the clutter of socially constructed expectations of taking responsibility for being insured against adversity. It’s a huge industry with significant lobby power and political weight.

    Let’s see who gets help. And let’s hope that the activation of a self sovereignty is also manifest to counter the institutional inertia to actually act on the basis of our collective responsibility to do as we’d would have done for ourselves for others as well.

  3. Stacy, my prayers to all those people who are affected by the tornado in US A Faith is a moving force and energy which assists people to move forward in life as we have done in our life.. Community support strengths family in this our hour of crisis.

  4. Hi Stacy,
    Thank you for highlighting this story about the pastor’s sermon about joy.
    I am glad that he was able to preach and hopefully able to bring the congregation together. I love how he embraces gratitude and memories in the midst of such devastation.
    I send prayers to all affected.
    You and him, are both shinning lights. Blessings! ♥♥

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