Encounter Meaning Amidst Disaster

Our house sits in a neighborhood nestled in a bustling city. It has a small town feel with the big town amenities. We have started our family in this house. This place that we call our home is where we connect, unwind, and grow.

We grow attached to our homes. They are treasured and maintained in hope that our house is with us for years to come. And, sometimes, taking our house for granted, forgetting how blessed we are to have this roof over our heads.

A Wake Up Call

It was a regular day, like any other day until the tornado sirens sounded. I stopped in my tracks and diverted my glance out the window. I didn’t notice stormy weather brewing. Despite my confusion, I led my son to the basement to wait out the sirens.

I had a hard time sitting still. I returned upstairs for my son’s toys and my purse. If the worst happened, I wanted my cell phone.  Back in the basement, I thought of more items I’d like to bring with me to safety – my laptop, camera, and cash.

Then, it hit me. Are these material possessions what I want to cling to, if this was my final moment alive or in this is house? No. I realized I wouldn’t cease to exist if I lost these material reflections. It would be hard, and I would mourn, but I could rebuild.

Meaning Amidst Disaster

Many have lost their homes and loved ones in recent and previous tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, and tsunamis. How do you rebuild your life and home after loss?

“You can spend your whole life buildin’
Something from nothin’.
One storm can come and blow it all away.
Build it anyway.” Anyway by Martina McBride

Finding faith, hope, and peace to keep moving forward. Being grateful for what we do possess, our lives and days left to live. Reaching out to others. Doing for others what they can’t do for themselves. All are ways that we uncover meaning amidst disaster.

Maybe you  haven’t been impacted by a natural disaster, but you’ve been through some stormy seasons. When facing the storms of life, remember that your skin is your home. No one and nothing can take away your spirit,  values, strengths, passion, or your thoughts.

Be At Home In Your Own Skin

Home is a place you can be yourself.

Worry less what others think of you.

Embrace all of you, the darkness and the light.

In your home, find joy in the tiniest moments,

Comfort for the pains you wade through,

And share in the celebrations and fullness of life.

Be your own reflection of what you cherish.

Hold your memories, ideas, and connections.

Living in your own skin,

Where the home is where you are.

What comforts you in the storms of life? Please share how you rebuild after loss.


I am writing this post in honor of those who have lost their homes and loved ones in the recent tornadoes in Joplin, Missouri ( 2 1/2 hours from here) and throughout the Midwest and Southern United States.

To donate to the Salvation Army disaster relief efforts, text the word “JOPLIN” to 80888 for an automatic $10 donation, call 1-800-SAL-ARMY (1-800-725-2769) or go to www.salvationarmy.us.

To support the American Red Cross disaster relief, text the word “REDCROSS” to 90999 to make a $10 donation, or call 1-800-Red-Cross (1-800-733-2767).

Photo Credit: “The Day After” by Angelo Amboldi



12 responses to “Encounter Meaning Amidst Disaster

  1. Hi Marci,

    My heart goes out to those who have suffered loss through disaster. But when I reached the part about the storms of life, that’s where I found myself relating personally. This is a lovely post and I feel especially uplifted by your words — “When facing the storms of life, remember that your skin is your home” … and “Be At Home In Your Own Skin”. I think this is a powerful visualization. As a highly sensitive person with social anxiety, I am all too aware that I am reliant on my home as my comfort zone. When I’m out and about and feeling stressful, I am going to try this new affirmation: I am At Home in my own skin. Thank you so much!! :~D


    • Sue, thank you for your personal comment. I’m thrilled that my post resonated with you. When I have an idea to share, I’m not always sure if it is relevant outside of my own head! Check back and let me know how your new affirmation is going…

  2. Hi Marci,

    I am stunned and I’ll get to the reasons why in a moment.

    First, though, I want to say thanks for dedicating this post to the folks in Joplin and the other cities and towns that have been ravaged by this spring’s tornadoes. I have loved ones in Joplin who were spared the physical devastation of the tornado (their house was a mere four blocks from where the deadly swath begins) but the emotional trauma is forever.

    Thanks too for the beautiful images of being at home in your skin. I believe that we each make choices about whether we’ll be powered by the material “skins” with which we surround ourselves or by the amplitude of what lies within our house of skin.

    So, back to the stunned part. I became curious when I read that you are 2 1/2 hours from Joplin so I flew to your site and your About section. Would you believe I grew up in Independence and only left Eastern Jackson County less than two years ago? So not only am I a fan of your work and a fellow ALister, I’m also a fellow Missourian!

    I’d love to stay in touch! Thank you again for such a moving post.

    In love and light,

    • Hello Beth,

      Thank you for visiting a fellow Missourian. I’ve lived in MO all my life, but newer to K.C. area (14 years). My practice has been in Indep. the past 2 years. What a small world. I love meeting people from all over the world and right in my backyard 🙂

      When something devastating happens, even if it’s not to me, I always wonder how people make it through hard times. These are my thoughts. I’d love to interview those who were actually in the storm’s path. For now, I do my “research” in my office, as people have many other storms they push through.

  3. Marci,

    I have lost several things over my lifetime and the best way I have found to rebuild is doing so brick by brick. I completely started over but this time I made sure that I built upon a solid foundation that would give me the greatest chance to survive the next storm. I built my new life with bricks of faith, mortar of hope and solidified it with cement of my purpose. The world will continually have storms but now I do my best to prepare for them.

    • Frank, I love how you write with metaphors. What truth and strength in your foundation – faith, hope, and purpose. You have the roots and bricks no matter where life blows you! Thanks for stopping by.

  4. Glad you and your family are safe, Marci. The tornadoes have been gaining strength and frequency each year, it seems. Terrifying to think what kind of disasters we’ll face next year. Material things are made for consumption; they are not meant to be valued more than one’s life. Homes are meant to be a solution for staying dry, getting rest, feeling safe. It’s astounding how far we’ve let ourselves move away from its practical uses. The luxury homes, the enormous sizes, the life-savings and incredible debt that have been invested into owning one — these things speak volumes as to what has happened to our values as a society; not sure who’s listening, though.
    Great post.

  5. Hi Marci,
    Beautiful post. Love “your skin is your home.” And love your poem, Be At Home In Your Own Skin.
    Here’s a quote that speaks to this which I love:
    Quote from Victor Frankl, Holocaust survivor
    ‘Everything can be taken from a man or a woman but one thing: the last of human freedoms to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
    We have, who we are. When all else goes, what’s left is us as humans. Strip away everything external and our raw selves are left.

    • Harriet, that is a great quote! I am all about finding choices. When all is stripped away, we still have a choice. That is hope, when in a sea of nature deciding for you.

      I look forward to connecting more, as I think we have similar passions 🙂

  6. What a wonderful post. My heart goes out to you and all who have suffered in these natural disasters. I live in California and we don’t usually have tornadoes, but earthquakes are what we think about. Regardless, whatever the cause, it can be a huge loss of lives, first and then homes and other things that make up our life.

    You have a wonderful point though. Our possessions are the least important and do not make up who we are. Valuable lesson for all.