As I’m sitting here right now, the sky goes gray without warning and the thunder is a shock to the very depth of my core today. Just like yesterday. Only yesterday we had an idea it was coming and it was bringing something very disturbing with it. I left the house shortly after putting the boys down for a nap, as Craig was working from home yesterday, and the sky was picnic-in-the-park perfect and I chalked the tornado hype up to another over-prediction by Oklahoma weathermen. We get a lot of warnings in these parts.
After I left my appointment, the difference in the sky was drastic and my biggest fear was hail, but as I flipped on the radio, I soon found there was much worse to be worried about. I had a 20 minute drive home and I called Craig from the van to say, “I may not make it home today. If the tornado doesn’t get me, one of these idiot drivers will. So…tell the kids I love them and I love you too.” Perhaps a thoughtless joke, but one that shows I really had no idea what our area was in for in the next 45 minutes.
I was never in the path of real danger. I was in the path of a lot of idiot drivers, but that doesn’t bother me today nearly as much as it did yesterday.
I came home. I pulled into the garage. We made sure we knew were the bike helmets were. We turned on the live news coverage. Actually, that was already on, so I just walked over to where everyone else was watching it. And for the rest of the evening, we watched in horror as hundreds of Oklahoma lives were permanently altered by one short afternoon.
We don’t live in Moore. Moore is just south of Oklahoma City and we live on the north side of OKC. Our actual house was closer to the tornado that hit the Edmond area on Sunday than the one that hit Moore yesterday. But we know a lot of people who live in Moore and…we know a lot of people who lived in Moore.
I get a little weird in these kinds of situations. I don’t want to claim a sorry that isn’t mine to grieve. I did not lose my house. I did not lose my family. I do not know anybody who died. A couple of families from our school did lose their homes yesterday, but they still have their families. We have everything to be grateful for. And so I pretty much just watched without much emotion yesterday.
And then I drove Katie and Millie to play practice and after I dropped them off I turned the radio back on. And I heard about the 7 children from Plaza Towers Elementary. And I started crying. Until that moment I had only known about the destruction. I hadn’t heard of the death yet.
You see point A? That’s the location where my kids go to school on T/Th/F. Point B is where the 7 children drowned yesterday after being trapped by debris. Yesterday was a homeschool day, so we were huddled up in our house, but… BUT.
And that’s what I’m struggling with. Everywhere I go I hear people, some strangers, some not, talk about where they “almost were” or how they knew someone who lived “this close” to the path or they had “just been to that location the day before” or they “were supposed to be right there but their plans changed” and I can’t decide if everyone is just trying to piece this together in a way that really brings home how close this really was to all of us or if everyone is feeling guilty that we were spared while so many others were not.
And yet, this is our tragedy. One in which we can grieve with those who grieve and mourn with those who mourn and help those who need helping.
And we can pray.
We must pray.
And we cry. With and for and because. We cry.