Over the past week I’ve read too much, seen too much, heard too much. So much in fact I wanted to say, no more. But for Moore, the tiny town in Oklahoma, we can’t do enough. For the people of Moore, this is the week that was.
When an army invades and levels a town, when a bomb drops and leaves a massive hole in the ground, it’s a man-made disaster. Death at the hands of an invader, focused destruction. But when Mother Nature unleashes her full fury, without warning, without mercy, without remorse, it becomes an apocalypse. The scene is unimaginable. Like the world has come to an end. For a tiny town in Oklahoma it almost did.
Imagine the terror at Tower Plaza Elementary – the school at the heart of the Moore community – as it took a direct hit from the tornado. The words of teacher Rhonda Crosswhite, as she relived the moment: “One of my little boys just kept saying, ‘I love you, I love you, please don’t die with me, please don’t die with me.’” He didn’t. Seven of his classmates were not so lucky. And if there was ever a time when luck was truly involved, this is it. Why some lived and others died is random and unexplained. And will be for all time. For the parents of the children who survived, I’m sure the word miracle comes to mind, for the parents of those not so fortunate, there are no words. Ever.
Last night I watched a video taken from inside Briarwood Elementary, another school hit by the 200 mile-an-hour twister. The teacher who recorded the video, protected her students between two cinder block walls. The video is essentially just darkness, and the sounds of screaming and the unbelievable howling of that funnel of fury and anger. I can take a lot, but that was tought to listen to. It cut like a knife from my eyes and ears to my heart.
And not only is there human suffering, there are the little victims as well, sometimes forgotten in the rubble. Hundreds of pets perished in the wake of the massive twister, many more may never see their owners again. Lost and lonely. The search is on to find them homes. Heartbreak many times over.
Talk about the winds of change. Lives in and around Moore and Oklahoma literally turned upside down, twisted into debris and death. A human disaster which only Mother Nature can dish out. And you wonder why.
Why do some live, others die? Why do bad things happen to good people? There’s no rhyme or reason. That’s why the goal must be to live life, to embrace it, to give back, and to find significance, because you never know. Sometimes strong headwinds, or even a twister, try to push you back, flip you over, turn you in a different direction, even lay devastation at your feet and across your path. And yet you must find a way, find the strength to keep moving forward.
For the people of Moore this Memorial Day will unfortunately be just that, a remembrance of loved ones lost. A time to honor the fallen, those the storm failed to spare. For these families their lives have been forever changed by a twister, which for them, will never stop spinning. The sound and fury of that tornado will haunt them for the rest of their lives. It’s a challenge no one should have to face. Yet nothing, not even a massive force of mother nature can break the human spirit, not forever.
It’s sad and unfair. And yet, as with all that happens around us, and even to us, life goes on. Somehow the sun rises and sets, no matter what. A two-mile-wide tornado won’t stop the earth from turning, though for a few moments this week it seemed to make it stand still. Homes, schools, businesses, will be rebuilt and in time, so will lives and hearts. We, as Americans, as human beings, will reach out, give back and help others rebuild and become more.
For Moore, words are not enough. Say a prayer and find a way to care.
If you so choose, the link to donate to the Red Cross: http://www.redcross.org/
Until next time, thanks for taking the time.