There are crossroads in every lifetime. Moments that define us. Moments that change us. Moments that stay in our hearts and minds forever and moments that haunt our dreams. In the end all those moments come together to connect the days and years of our lives.
The last few days have been filled with so many emotions. So many thoughts, fears. Plans that have been disrupted and intercepted. So many questions and soul searching trying to make out the meaning of the events in our lives.
Tonight, I sat at my sons 5th grade graduation. So many moments are bittersweet. Tonight was one of those nights. I tried so hard to enjoy the moment but the truth is I fought back tears most of the ceremony. So many kids in a town so close would not make it back to school this year. Their schools are destroyed. Their town is destroyed. The human and compassion and empathy that lives in my heart grabbed on tonight and wouldn’t let go. I felt alone and empty in the middle of all those 5th grade parents. I wanted to disappear and emotionally I did, at least from the present moment.
Our painful track through elementary school has been a difficult one. I watched my son tonight and I had to revisit the whole experience. I can’t break life up and cut out the parts I don’t want to see. That is not who I am. I let myself feel each year, each struggle, each small victory. The fact that this ceremony lasted almost 2 hours allowed me to revisit the last few years of my own life. My own struggles. Happy times, difficult times, and all those times in between. It is easy to get lost in the shuffle when you don’t have solid roots. I believe all the moving around has left me estranged and somewhat empty. It hurts to get close and move. It hurts to start a life and uproot it long before the story is over. What I realized is this. Things affect us. People affect us. Every situation and experience at some point comes back to haunt us. How we react is a choice. It determines our character, how we treat others and how we decide we are going to be. Will we be depressed, angry, vindictive, nonchalant. We decide. Hopefully we choose carefully.
The lesson is this. For whatever reason, I believe we are in a particular place at a particular time for a particular reason.Im not really big on the idea of chance. Oklahoma has been a learning opportunity in so many ways. Moving around, I have experienced people from every culture, and political party. I have lived in small towns, big towns, rich towns, poor towns. It’s a blessing and a curse at the same time. It has made me question truth and character and motives. This week the lesson has been painful but hopeful at the same time. I have watched the media focus in on the small school that has become a pile of rubble. I have watched the doom and gloom and exaggeration they have put on the 7 children that lost their lives on that terrible day. I want to tell you my story. My truth. The truth is I have seen some difficult things on Facebook. I have seen posts that chide people that believe in God. I have seen people ask where is your God directed at people who have lost family and friends, and maybe their homes. I have seen people insinuate because Oklahoma is a red state and does not support federal aid we should not be granted any. Post after post, my heart just sank. I posted not long ago that our lives become the reflection we allow ourselves to see. I will not let the truth and the good be fogged over by nonsense. People wonder why I sometimes get discouraged about the world. You should see it here. The destruction. The devastation. It is enough to make one sick to their stomach. Last night we had more severe storms and I woke up in a panic at the sound of thunder. I went to sleep with my heart breaking thinking not only of the families and friends of people that lost their lives, but also the people that lost everything. I think I heard 3500 homes. These people don’t have a pillow, a bed, a home, food, or even a change of underwear. We are going to use this situation to argue whether there is a God or people of a particular party deserve disaster aid. Not anymore. Not on my watch. My mirror shows a community that has stepped up to help. The donations, the workers, the deli’s that offer free lunches to men and woman digging through rubble. Neighbors helping neighbors. People that have lost everything lending a hand to someone else in need when a hand is all they have left to offer. That is living. That is humanity. That is love. People are not broken here. They are in shock but they are taking action. It is hopeful, beautiful and amazing to watch. It is also gut wrenching. But, that is the real story in Oklahoma right now. We are not devastated over the fact 7 children died in a school. We are so saddened but at the same time grateful the number is not as bad as it could have been. It is almost a blessing to look around at the devastation and see so few lives lost. That is what we are focused on here now. Oklahoma feels and appreciates the love and support of people all around the world. It gives us strength and we appreciate it. Just know that there are amazing stories here to tell, different from some of the ones told over and over. People are good, and kind and compassionate. There is so much good going on here that it has changed the way I see the world. Maybe that is why I am here at this time, in this moment. I feel blessed to witness the outpouring of humanity and a community coming together in an amazing way in a time of need. This is one of my moments, one I am sure I will never forget. Some of the fear and pain will be hard to navigate through, but the kindness and hope that rise out of the rubble will forever soften my heart. I am really moved by all the wonderful, positive, genuinely concerned and compassionate posts I have been seeing as well. Keep them coming, because they do make a difference.
What I was able to focus on tonight during the ceremony was the speaker referring to momentous occasions. He asked for everyone to look around the room and realize we all share this moment together. It is a group of people called together to share a particular moment in time. These moments bind us in ways that sometimes we may not realize in a given moment, but it sure made a lot of sense to me tonight. I have those moments in so many states with so many different people. This time or this moment feels like one I just need to get through. However, it binds me to this State, this community, and the people in my life at this time. Just for tonight I will stay in this moment until the next moment comes along. Count your blessing because we only get so many moments to live….