In May 2003, the week before I was to graduate from college, I lived through a tornado. It came through my backyard, actually. I had been at home with my little sister, who was 12 at the time. My parents' don't have a basement, so we made it up to my uncle's house with my grandmother just in time to get to his basement. My parents' were at a baseball game with my brother more than an hour away. They waited out the tornado warning in a firehouse that was basically just a pole barn. People had always told me that tornadoes sound like trains. That's 100% true. I didn't get scared until I saw that my uncle was. That F4 tornado was 2/3 of a mile wide and stayed on the ground for 33 miles. It killed two people. Thankfully, no one in my family was hurt or even had much property damage.
That said, I cannot imagine how the people of Moore, Oklahoma feel right now. I keep thinking of those teachers, powerless to protect their students against nature's wrath. When you practice your tornado procedures, you pray you will never have to use them. When you have to put them into practice, you pray it's just a precaution. This is what you fear. Seeing pictures of the devastation just blows my mind. This storm was so big and wide, the path of destruction unimaginable. Each new image brings fresh tears. If you are a person who prays, pray for those people who have lost everything, especially those who lost loved ones. How do you wake up one morning and everything's normal and go to bed with your whole life in ruins? People say it to the point it's become cliche, but your whole life can change in a moment. And I always wonder how those who don't have faith in God survive those times.
There's a quote from Mr. Rogers that says. "When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” To this day, especially in times of “disaster,” I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world." I hope that today, and in the coming months and years, we will find a way to be helpers to this community as they recover and rebuild.