UPDATE: May 23, 2012: I first posted this blog in November of 2011. Since then, it has been viewed nearly everyday by multiple people. Obviously, the world is interested in angels! My admiration goes out to the folks of Joplin, MO, who have picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and started all over again. And we join them in missing the loved ones that were lost.
Last night the CBS evening news ended with a feature on the “Butterfly Angels” of Joplin, MO. It’s been six months since a massive tornado tore across the plain, sending cars, homes, and trees tumbling into chaos and destruction. In the midst of that fury, some people sensed the presence of spiritual helpers. Many children reported seeing big “butterflies.” From the blogsite All About Boomers comes this description on the June 30th post:
As the tornado approached, a father and his two young children were outside in their yard. They did not have enough time to get in to the house for cover. The father of the kids threw himself on top of his babies and they were on the ground. The father dug his hands into the ground as the tornado plowed right over them. The soles of the shoes he was wearing, ripped right off. He LOST the Soles to his SHOES! Amazing! The father and the children stood up, after the tornado moved on, UNHARMED. The 4-year-old little girl looked at her daddy and said “Daddy I saw that big butterfly holding you down”. Think about that…
The other story they told me was of a young boy was swept up by the tornado and dropped back to the ground. As he was unharmed he told his mom “I saw butterflies and a white puppy”.
The CBS story, Butterfly is a Symbol of Hope in Joplin, MO, featured a cheerleader, Emily, and her mother who were tossed around in their SUV by the storm. But as they found shelter in a damaged building, Emily said she felt a comforting presence.
“I remember on this shoulder a hand touched me like right here,” she said, “and they told me everything was going to be OK.”
As Joplin is on the mend, its children have found their own symbols of hope.
“It’s actually really weird,” said Emily, “but ever since then, I’ll be walking outside and a butterfly will come and land on me … like on my arm or on my back.
The residents of Joplin have painted a beautiful Butterfly Angel Mural to commemorate their experience.
Update May 23, 2012–After the original post appeared, I received this note from Joplin, MO resident Linda Henderson recounting her experience the day of the big twister:
After going through this horrific storm I can tell you that but for the grace of God there would have been a lot more deaths. My entire apartment complex, and there were at least 350 people living there was virtually wiped out. We only lost one lady. Most of the places that were left were the areas where the people were, the closet, the stairwell and the bathroom. We were in the eye of the tornado, so we went through the front and back side when it was an EF5. It was an experience I don’t care to repeat.
I was in my hallway closet. My daughter’s family lived on the other side of the complex in an upstairs apartment and they rode it out with about twelve people under the stairs in the hallway downstairs. I had a downstairs apartment. The one over me was totally gone. The one across the hall from me was totally gone. It took them a while to get me out of my apartment because I’m disabled with RA so I needed help to climb out over the debris. My poor daughter sent her husband over to see if I was alive while it was still hailing and lightning really bad. I could hear him calling for me over the noise of the hail and rain. At least I knew at that point that they were all alive.
My poor youngest daughter and her family were in a neighboring town and she had called me right as I was diving into the closet and at that point I told her the windows were blowing out of the apartment and we were definitely getting hit hard. Right before we lost cell phone towers I yelled at her that I loved her and seriously I thought that would be the last time I ever spoke to her. She was so scared. They started back here and when they got as close as they could all you could see was devastation. We couldn’t get a message through to her that we were all alive. She started digging through the apartment looking for me, I can only imagine how devastating this was for her. In a way, she’s had a tougher time dealing than we have. Her house had some damage, but it was livable. I live with her now. Believe me, there isn’t any rental property in town at this point. We are a strong city though and we will survive. Our faith is strong and I know that will carry us through. Thank you for listening.
Thanks for sharing, Linda!
Blessings to everyone in Joplin!