May 20th, 2013—another date to engrave in the minds of Oklahomans, right next to April 19, 1995 and May 3rd, 1999. It seems that Oklahomans have had their fare share of tragedies in the last 20 years, but one thing I will say is that Oklahomans are strong.
At such a tragic time as this, it is wonderful to see the beams of hope that filter in. Hearing and seeing so many people step up instantly to lend a hand and give to those in need is incredible. Even our Thunder celebrities are pitching in and lending hands and money. It’s a beautiful sight. It pains me that I can’t be there to help more, but I know my prayers have not gone unheard.
There’s a line from our state song, Oklahoma, that sums up our pride and identity perfectly:
“We know we belong to the land,
and the land we belong to is grand!”
I can honestly say I’ve never met and probably will never meet a group of people that is so tied to their state. It’s in our blood, and it never leaves us. And unless you are from Oklahoma, you’ll probably never understand it. Though brief, we know our history and take pride in it.
We take treasure things like scissortails, rose rocks, Redbuds, and red dirt. We garb ourselves in Oklahoma paraphernalia. We take immense pride in the Thunder, even when they had a 23-59 losing record. Speaking of, how did we get the Thunder in the first place? By showing so much love and support for the Hornets when they were displaced because of Katrina. Love and compassion is in our veins. Who else would go to the airport at 3am to greet their NBA team that just lost the series? Us.
Though our state has had little to boast in, we love it. We care for each other, through each disaster we encounter. I may no longer live in Oklahoma, but my roots run deep, and I will forever be an Oklahoman, for which I am immeasurably proud of. I didn’t get a tattoo of the OK flag symbol for nothing.
Being 1500 miles away and watching the events unfold before my eyes was hard. Thank goodness for technology, I could still watch my local weatherman Gary England from afar. Once I realized the tornado was heading straight for my mom, I contacted her, only to hear that she had just landed in Ohio for a work trip. Praise God she was gone. But then the wait began. I watched this tornado rip through the heart of Oklahoma and right through my mom’s neighborhood. I thought, there’s absolutely no way she still has a house. After all, Plaza Elementary School is only 2 blocks away from her! In the aftermath, it took many hours for us to find out the status of her house. In that time, selfishly I was thinking of all the “things” I was going to lose—the baby dolls and toys I was going to give my children, scrapbooks, and just memories. But how could I even have these thoughts when there were parents two blocks away digging through rubble for their children? And for that, I repent. I can’t imagine what that must have been like, and to lose material things dissipates in comparison. Thank goodness though; by God’s grace my mother’s house is still standing. I have no idea how, considering her entire neighborhood is gone. Literally two houses down does not exist any more. Why God chooses to spare some and not others, we will never know. But we trust in the sovereignty of our almighty and powerful God. I praise him because my family and friends are safe, but I plea on behalf of those who weren’t so fortunate.
“Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.” –Psalm 30:5
Morning will soon come.