Thinking of home tonight.
Days like today are hard days to be an Oklahoman and yet not actually live in Oklahoma.
You see and hear and read and watch and take in all you can; you make calls and get calls, you get reassurances and make reassurances to others; you wonder and hope and seek out confirmation that people you love and miss and know are all okay, okay in that “we weren’t even anywhere near Moore” way and okay in that “we’re alive but lost everything but we’re alive” way.
And then you stop watching it all and stop following it all because you can’t handle the reality of the nightmare.
The fear instilled in us, as elementary school kids growing up in Oklahoma, wasn’t one of school shootings or terrorist attacks. It would be high school before that ever entered into our consciousness. No, as an elementary school kid you prepared for the terror of a tornado, and you did so by joining all of your classmates in the hallway, bowing your head and hoping that whatever storm system overhead simply dissipated or passed over without incident or moved away to bother someone else.
You sat in the dark with everyone you knew and you hoped it would be okay.
It’s absurd, when you think about it, that the only solution to salvation from 200 mile per hour winds in a storm system a mile or two wide cutting a swath of destruction across fields and houses and roads and lives…
…The only way to be safe is to sit in the dark and bow your head and hope.
And today that’s what hundreds of kids did and today that’s what I did and today that hope wasn’t enough for entirely way too many people. For at least ninety one people and their families, some of whom are still in darkness waiting for things to be okay. And for a lot of them, for most of them, things will never be okay.
It seems like Oklahoma and tragedies go hand in hand, but so does Oklahoma and hope.
So does Oklahoma and perseverance.
So does Oklahoma and strength. And more than that, it’s the audacity Oklahoma has to rebuild a school in the ruins of the previous school, in the very spot where year after year a mighty force of nature descends upon the helpless and the innocent and the unprotected and that mighty force decimates any and all in it’s wake.
A lot of people may look at that audacity and see foolishness, or stubbornness, or stupidity. But that’s not it at all.
It says that we as Oklahomans, we’re not going anywhere. We belong to this land, and we will not be so easily moved by wrath-of-a-vengeful-God like winds and decidedly Old Testament acts of wanton and unforgiving destruction.
We belong to this land and we will rebuild and we will survive and we will heal.
And until then we will sit in the dark and hope that it will all be okay.