The past few days have been trying to say the least for the people of Moore Oklahoma. As we have all heard and watched on the news, this area has been devastated by one of the worst tornadoes in history. I am sure that no community wants to make history like this. All of the media sources are showing videos and pictures and it is amazing to see how so many are so willing to help in the days that follow this great tragedy. These people will continue to need support and help from our entire country for probably years to come.
I look at all of the pictures and videos and like so many others, my heart is sad for all of these people. I can never imagine what it would be like for the parents especially, who have lost their babies. I picture myself in their shoes and I try to relate what it would be like and I have a feeling of uncertainty that is painful.
I imagine that I am at work that day and on the radio reports of an enormous tornado are playing over and over. Nothing sane crosses my mind other than find my children. The tornado hasn’t hit yet but I must be with them and have them in my arms.
I grab my keys and in the adrenaline rush I don’t even think to get my purse. Like a movie I am transported from my desk to my car in less than a blink of an eye and I am on the road to my son’s preschool. I can see that the weather is not good and I am terrified as I continue to hear the reports on the radio. It is so dark out as the wind is terrible. I drive in auto pilot to my sons preschool and I don’t even know how I made it there so quickly. He is in my arms and I am thankful that I have one of them.
Once again we are back in the car and off to get my daughter. My husband is calling me and he is on his way to the school as well. We know inside our hearts that this day will be forever changing. It is a feeling that just came over me that I knew I had to get my family. There are sirens and the wind is fierce. It is making it difficult to drive and I can feel my car sway with each gust.
I am crying silently as I drive because I am so scared but I don’t want to scare my baby in the back any more than he already is. I take a glimpse of his face in the rear view mirror and I know that he is as scared and unsure as I am.
By this point every minute lasts for an hour. Time is just dripping by and every movement that I make is deliberate and slow. I feel a pain in my heart and I know something.
Minutes or hours later when I arrive to where the elementary school once was I am speechless. There is dust and rubble and blood and tears. I am in a movie now. I feel drunk with confusion and I am out of my car sort of stumbling around. My son! I get him out of the car and hold him as I stare forward at nothing.
Tears haven’t stopped streaming down my face and the pain in my chest is so immense that I can hardly breath. I can’t swallow and my entire body shakes. I see people running from the pile of bricks. There are people digging in the pile of bricks, throwing block after block to the side to see what is underneath.
This is not happening. I am in a movie.
I think that the worst feeling is that I don’t know. I have no idea where my daughter and husband are. There are no phones working right now and I have no sense of anything. I am a shell of a person at this moment and can’t quite get a grip on what I am supposed to do. I see people coming my way carrying children and they are all beat up. There is blood and tears and I can’t take anymore. I am sobbing and no longer trying to stay stoic for my son. I am a mess.
As a mother I have seen the news and I am lost. My heart couldn’t hurt more for the families that are dealing with this very real tragedy right now. What I wrote was what I imagined I would feel, but I would bet that it is so much more intense for the people that are actually experiencing it.
I know I would question why? It is the obvious question. I would have no idea where to go from here. I imagine that most of these people have had similar thoughts. I have prayed for these people and I continue to. This time in their lives will test each and every one of them in ways that I am sure they never imagined.
I believe that when tragedy strikes us, there is always the calm after the storm. There is something good that can rise out of the dust. I know that you are watching over us and that you are a merciful God. I pray that the all of the people affected by this weeks outrageous tornado can see some day that you do have a plan in place.
I imagine that it is very hard for most to see anything good but I watch as people join together in support. I watch as people are helping in any way possible and I am amazed at how quickly people gathered with love and kindness. It is this that I think is encouraging.
If I had been in the shoes of these poor people, it is the love and kindness that would encourage me to pull myself up. I would wipe my eyes and start walking forward to help those that are still in need.
So many were lost in this tragedy and that is one of the hardest things to deal with. Each life that was cut short saddens me. It is a hurt that will probably never heal for this community. Time may ease the pain slightly, but I imagine that this will always be a scar on the hearts of those that lost a loved one.
God, I pray that you can watch over the entire area that was swept with this ferocious storm. I pray that your hand will touch those that are hurt physically. I ask that your hand also be there to strengthen those that are working so hard to rescue so many lives. I pray that you show your love and compassion as they begin the long process of rebuilding their lives and I ask that you care for all of the people and children that did not survive and I pray that their families will find peace some day. I pray that there will be a light at the end of this storm for all of those that were hurt and lost loved ones. In your name I pray. Amen.