Wednesday, June 22, 2011

LOST: Self-Discipline

Where did all my self-discipline go? I seem to have very little of it these days. I'm pretty much lacking in motivation.

Storm Losses

It's been exactly one month since we survived the Joplin tornado, unscathed but terrified, hunkered down in the kitchen of the IHOP restaurant at 20th and Rangeline in Joplin. Thanks to the timely warnings from a canny weather scout, no one at IHOP suffered serious physical injuries.

How Long? Forever !

How many minutes elapsed before the tornado finished its destruction and blew past us? I think it was roughly forever before I began to sense a lessening in the intensity of the wind. I felt that we were just below the unrelenting bristles of a giant revolving brush.

Building Design - Quality Construction

I am convinced that what saved us was the design of the building and the quality of the construction. The first IHOPs were A-frame buildings, but after that the buildings were blockier, with, fortunately, many short interior walls. I don't think the newest IHOPs follow that design, but hopefully, maybe they will reconsider and not choose to put up buildings with four walls and a large, unconnected, roof.


The aftereffects have been surprising -- to me, at any rate. Even if one survived intact in body, and having suffered no material loss, there is a mental, emotional loss to be paid. As one relative observed, even people who were entirely outside the zone of destruction are not immune to feeling stress, loss of orientation, inability to concentrate. Thoughts of the tornado occupy the default portion of the brain.

Watershed in Time

It has been helpful to read Bonar Menninger's book, And Hell Followed With It, an accounting of the June 8, 1966 tornado in Topeka, and learn that most people never forget how close they came to losing everything, including their very lives. The Joplin tornado has now claimed over 150 lives. One of them could have been me.

Patience . . . Patience . . .

Some people who were brave enough tried to salvage what they could from the wreckage. Maybe with a little patience, I'll be able to recover my self-discipline.

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