Hey, y’all! That, by the way, is an adaptation of my normal greeting, in honor of my home state that got hammered the last two days by the tornadoes.
I have so much I want to say right now, and as usual, my biggest concern is that I will have the right words. Starting from when I woke up this morning and was almost afraid to pull up Facebook for fear of what more horrible news I would find posted there, all my thoughts have been focused on the tragedy of the storms and the results and aftermath.
As an almost-lifelong Oklahoman, I’ve been through this before. I’ve watched weather updates, heard sirens, and “hunkered” down in hallways, bathrooms, cellars, and closets. And…I’ve seen it up close and personal as well. This happened to my own small hometown in 2009. Trailer parks wiped out. Eight or nine people dead. Destruction and devastation and neighbors’ lives uprooted just like the trees in their front yards.
And now, as then, there is good in every evil. There is triumph in every test. When bad things happen, good people come out of the woodwork. I’ve seen it. I am so proud of this state. I am proud to be FROM here. Someone was telling me about the news footage last night of the line of cars, stretching around blocks and blocks at ONE donation point. Just one out of the whole city, and all you could see were headlights. Not to sound cocky or anything, but guys, that’s just how we roll here. When bad things happen, people are literally there in a moment to do whatever they can do. Sometimes all you can do is hold people while they cry, but I can speak from experience: there are times when that is everything.
I think I know, intellectually, that there are good people in every state, and that if something comparable to this happened in California, or New Mexico, or Ohio, or New Jersey, or anywhere, people would be there to help. Donations would pour in. I know this. But somehow, Oklahoma feels special. The outpouring you see here isn’t just charity. It’s love. Pure, undiluted love in action. I like to think it’s because we’re largely a group of God-fearing Christians, but that’s arrogant. Oklahoma and Texas specifically, and the Midwest in general, are just very special places.
It’s interesting to me how my thoughts move when something like this happens. I have been feeling a need to draw near to God all day today. As I drove in to work, I was singing some church songs and just kind of realizing what I was feeling. I acknowledge how sad it is that it takes something like this to make me feel that need, to make me feel that strong desire to really come closer to God, but above and beyond that, I feel mostly a deep gratitude for the opportunity. I’m thankful for this tragedy, in that it serves as a reminder that catches my attention, that wakes me up, that makes me realize as little else rarely does… I NEED God! I need faith in my life. I need to believe in a higher purpose, a higher power, in a wisdom far beyond mine that knows all, understands all, and has a greater plan for good from this, than I can scarcely begin to comprehend.
I really truly do understand how angry that sentiment could possibly make some people. Those who lost their homes, their children, their workplaces…I get how they could read that and go, “Are you INSANE? Are you crazy? How dare you be thankful for something like this, for MY suffering and MY loss?!” All I can say is that I am. I am thankful that I have the opportunity to be reminded of God’s awesome power, and how people’s love for Him leads them to walk in love for their fellow man and just give so much and so deeply.
And I would say to everyone who is struggling with their thoughts about this, with their pain and anger and doubt, but especially to those people who lost loved ones, particularly children- can you just imagine where they are today? Can you see the beauty that surrounds them? The sunlight, the warmth, the absolute and utter peace and lack of pain where they are? The love that they are wrapped in? Can you picture the scene? They are in the place Jesus Himself described as Paradise. Feel that, and let it comfort you.
All in all, my pledge is this: I mean to take advantage of the opportunity to wake up another day and draw near to God and also show that love by doing what I can to help those whose lives have been impacted by this storm tragedy.
Until next time,
- What You Can Do in the Aftermath of the Oklahoma Tornado (mywarminghouse.com)
- Oklahoma. (foraslongasibreathe.wordpress.com)
- Celebrities Respond to Oklahoma Tornado on Twitter, Pray For Victims, Urge Donations (thehollywoodgossip.com)
- Oklahoma (angeltude371.wordpress.com)