With the unimaginable tragedy that happened this week with Oklahoma’s 200 mph tornado, I found that I could not direct my written thoughts to anything else. By comparison, everything else is trivial. What a year this has been so far. We, as a nation, started off the year with recent memories from the Sandy Hook school shooting in December, then the Boston Marathon Bombings and West Texas factory tragedies soon followed. Next, we hear of the miraculous rescue of 3 child kidnapping victims in Cleveland after they lived 10 years in captivity, and now 24 people have lost their lives in the 1.3 mile wide E-F5 tornado in Moore, Oklahoma. Many were young children, hundreds more injured, and schools and homes were demolished by this monster tornado. It would be easy to be despaired at this point, and to start down that long road of questioning Why? There is no satisfying answer for that word. We live in a world that experiences unfathomable tragedy every day; yet we also live in a world that experiences heroic goodness every day too. The dark times would rather have us give up, to tell us it is hopeless. But instead, we can all choose another way, which is to Act. Here are some ways we can start doing that right now.
Start each day with prayer. It may not change our circumstances, but whatever the day brings, it is very comforting to know that you’ve already talked to God about it in the morning, and He is walking with you.
I am not much of a morning person, so sometimes my earnest prayers do not start until I am already on my way to work or have just arrived in the office, but that’s ok. I make sure I set aside a few minutes before my day starts. Five minutes at the beginning of the day can sometimes save me hours later on.
Don’t just talk, Act. We can each do something that will make the world better. It will be like a domino effect of goodness that washes over everything when we are all motivated toward a common goal of helping each other. Some people may choose to donate to the Red Cross, others open up their churches, or send food and supplies. We only need to step outside of ourselves occasionally and look up and out.
Every few months, I spend a couple of hours helping women who are recovering from drug and alcohol abuse to learn basic life skills – how to interview for a job, putting together a resume, and using a computer. These women are just trying to survive. They are not complaining about being too busy or getting stuck in traffic. They just want to own a car. It is humbling for me at the least, and I always leave there having learned more from them.
Remember the big picture. I recently finished reading a book from a local author and physician, called “A Mis-Match Made in Heaven” by Mike & Ann Litrel. I highly recommend it, full of humor and stories about health and the human spirit. Dr. Litrel says it best: “As we journey together, we face many difficulties that are inherent in biological life. Yet when we understand that our path begins and ends with God, we will see that our struggles are simply signposts along the road. In the end, helping us find our way back Home.”