While walking the sidewalks of a torn apartment complex, I saw a penny on the sidewalk—heads up. I left it- another small piece of hope for someone. On our journey weaving back through the devastated route, I saw other signs of hope on their road to recovery— on the sign of Joplin High School, where the “J” and “lin” were missing, they had fashioned an “H” and “O” out of duct tape to create “Hope High School.” Spray-painted messages of “We’re ok” and “God Bless Joplin,” with the ever-cheerful Smiley Face accompanying them, brought a brief smile. Work crews who graciously allowed us to drive carefully through, and the smell of fresh lumber and the sound of hammers birthing new homes for someone were hopeful sights and sounds.
For me, these sights from the road were new yesterday morning and I was overcome with that initial shock and heartbreak that comes with being handed a letter of loss. But for others who had lived through it and were beginning to rebuild, the road may appear to them as one of Hope and reconstruction. Where my wheels turned solemnly and slowly, theirs are starting to turn with purpose and strength.