With apologies to one of my mother's favorite shows, this has nothing to do with TV.
For the last few days I have been noticing with passing interest the tornados in the midwest. I have a granddaughter in Illinois, a father-in-law in Nebraska, as well as numerous friend and aquaintances in the area, but not so much in Texas and Oklahoma. My thoughts and prayers (though quick and without any real direction) went out and life went on. Then last night. I was talking to my sister about some family news (more on that at a later date) when she mentioned her husband's nephew, Jim. He was living in Oklahoma, in Moore I believe. His family lost everything, but were all safe. Wow, wake up call. I know this young man. And while I haven't seen him for a number of years and he is not related to me, suddenly the storms and damage had a face. Now suddenly my interest changed. As the day has gone on, more and more people that I know have shared their connections with the destruction. Several living in Shelton either came from there, or have family there. This far away, faceless place is now much closer, and much more interesting. I have moved from mild interest, to ready to donate.
At the same time, people, including myself, are moving on with their lives. I am posting on Facebook my exercise for the day and the fact that I jump from a plane yesterday. There are cute pictures and motivational saying being posted rapidly as ever. I am reminded of a day, years ago. My dad was dying of cancer. All the tubes had been removed and my wife, my mom, and I sat all night with him, listening to him breath, wondering of that one was the last. He would stop for a moment and so would my heart. The hospital was in Portland, on a high bluff. The room had a wide window sill and as the sun came up (it was summer so early) I watched the lights of people driving to work. I could see the two freeways, I-5 and I-405 as well as several bridges. Not being from Portland, I have no idea which ones. As I sat on that window sill, my dad passing away on my right, I stared out that window, wondering what those people were thinking. I knew some were struggling with jobs they hated or were anxious to get to jobs they loved. Some were having family or marriage problem, and I am certain that one or two had just proposed the night before. Some were headed to that very same hospital, to work, to visit, or to seek help. I didn't know their story, and they didn't know mine. And they didn't know me or that I had a story that was unfolding at that very moment.
People in Oklahoma are trying to pick up the pieces today. The news suggests that Texans are watching the sky with anxiety today. One of the challenges of being human to getting outside my story, my fears, my needs, my life and into the story of others. So today, I pray for Okies and Texans, and other midwesterners. I watch for people, some I know, most I don't. And I know that no matter what happens our Father is watching, and caring, and sending relief to those who stories as tragic today.
PS – I mentioned donation, mine will be through IDES. News about what they are doing can be found here, http://www.ides.org/2013may7.html