Dear Oklahoma, I love you.

It’s the day after a monster we call an EF-5 tornado, a rare and devastating weather phenomenon, tore through Newcastle and Moore, Oklahoma. This was the day after another tornado came dangerously close to my own home. My best friend and her daughter along with me and my daughters huddled in my small bathtub. Our hands trembled as we prayed in the dark over our small girls. But unlike our friends in Moore, we walked out free and clear. No damage done. Just a little shaken, but grateful that we dodged a bullet.

We’re so aware today of how different that could have been.

I peek in on my sleeping kids, and my chest heaves, I cover my mouth to suppress the sob that tries to escape my throat. Life is so precious. So brief. As a friend put it yesterday, “It’s amazing how quickly things can change.” 

I moved to Oklahoma the summer of 1994 from Austin, Texas. It didn’t take long for me to figure out that it’s not called Tornado Alley for nothing. In 1999, I watched an F5 skim the outskirts of Chickasha, moving up the turnpike to devastate Moore. And again yesterday, I watched in horror on TV as it happened again.

Like everyone else, my heart is broken, particularly over the lives lost. Like everyone else, I’m justr trying to process the devastation. Like everyone else, I want to help.

I am a Texan by my raising, and I’m proud of it, and with every year I live here, I am proud to be an Oklahoman too. Okies get knocked down, and they get right back up. They flood donation centers; they give their literal blood, sweat and tears. They think up creative and incredibly beauitful means of raising money to help their neighbors get back on their feet. They cover other people’s children with their own bodies. They give and they give and they give some more. The church gathers together here and PRAYS and gives and tends to the hurting. Oklahoma, I take back all the yucky things I’ve said over the years.

Oklahoma, I love you. Thank you, Lord for giving me the blessing of living here.

Sincerely,

A humbled and grateful Texas girl

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