Like many Americans, I’ve spent much of the last 24 hours watching the news coming from Moore, Oklahoma. I actually was transfixed by the live video transmitted from the helicopter as it was happening, wondering how the events would play out. In the end, it was worse than I expected, and the devastation far surpassed what my mind could comprehend. Mother Nature is both wonderful and deadly, a true split-personality that constantly leaves us guessing what she might have in store for us next.
The events in Oklahoma remind us of the fragile nature of our existence. At one moment, a storm approaches a peaceful community, and in the next…it is essentially erased from the map. Scores of people are killed or injured, and we will spend days and days trying to explain “what could have been”. But it is the “what IS” that is most important. Life “IS” precious. Preparation “IS” important. Faith and prayer “IS” necessary to help people make sense of the senseless.
As I watch the media coverage (and I’ll keep my “media-hater” comments to myself for now), I think of how lucky I am. Like most people, I have things going on in my life that increase my stress level, or are a source of frustration, but hearing about children being killed and families losing all of their belongings quickly puts things in perspective for me. Most of us in this country really enjoy a good life, and I think when something happens; whether a natural disaster, the Boston Marathon bombing, etc, we almost instantly think about the people and things that we’re thankful for. We may hug our loved ones a little longer, squeeze them a little tighter, and maybe even spend a little extra time reading to our kids. Disasters remind us to love and care for one another. Unfortunately, it takes the suffering of others to remind us of what is really important.
Moore, Oklahoma has been through this before, and the town will be rebuilt. In a few weeks, only those directly affected by this storm with speak about it. Empathy will wane, and most of the world will push this event down their list of “most important” items to think about. But when that happens, try to remember two things; first…this event will never leave the collective memory of the survivors and…identify the things that are most important to you…and hold them as close to your heart as you can, because you can’t predict when they will be taken from you.