Thursday, May 30, 2013

Tornado: Part Seven

The enormity of the devastation and the overwhelming feelings associated by the clean-up are enough to wear anyone down.  Combine all of that with the waiting for insurance findings/reports and FEMA paperwork and funerals to attend for friends/families and work responsibilities and and and heart continues to break for those who have been directly impacted by this tragedy.

In the face of all of this tragedy I find myself  being worn down by thoughts of why them and not me?  I have still have a school to go to (granted its lack of electricity, phones, and internet have complicated the post-school work expected at the end of the year) and yet my colleagues at our neighboring schools of of Briarwood and Plaza Towers do not.  I have an intact home to go to (with power, TV and air conditioning) and yet so many of my students, friends, and co-workers don't.  My faith gets somewhat shaken by people who say something about being blessed it didn't get their home or school or that their being spared was by the "grace of God".  Those thoughts sicken me because it implies, intentionally or not, that God withheld his blessings and/or grace from others.  I know tragedies, especially weather related ones, impact people of all walks of life without regarding to race, ethnicity, citizenship, faith, creed, gender, sexual orientation, physical abilities, education level, socio-economic level, etc.  But I still am troubled with why was I able to escape such because I'd gladly have endured this to help even one of my students escape this suffering.

It is in this sense of being overwhelmed by everything surround the tornado that I have been thankful for the opportunities to escape the focus of the tragedy.
  •  I was invited to a graduation party for one of my seniors (Sarah); while already planning to attend there was no way I was going to let the tornado's aftermath keep me from the party...I needed cake!
  • Saturday's activities surrounded Southmoore's 5th annual Graduation and I was so thankful for an awesome celebration to help destract our community, even for just a brief moment, from the devastation 10 miles further south.  Congratulations SaberCat Class of 2013
  • Saturday night allowed me the chance to attend another graduation party for another student (Hunter).  The interaction with his family and friends was just a great way to focus on life's blessings.  The food was awesome and...more cake too!
  • Sunday evening, my good friend and colleague from another school district (Christine) hosted a dinner at her house.  It was so great to be able to join in a relaxed evening and just enjoy the friendship.
  • Monday late afternoon and evening I joined my friend Donna for a movie (Star Trek...go see it!!) and then a special dinner as a fundraiser/benefit the Oklahoma Red Cross's relief efforts.  I have since learned that through their efforts at a "pop-up" restaurant in Myriad Gardens, the culinary artists who lent their talents to OK Chefs Relief raised over $75,000 on Sunday and Monday.
  • Tuesday for lunch I joined Anita (the PTA/Band mom, awesome substitute teacher, and new friend) and her children for lunch.  While it was meant as a way to help encourage her family, it was also a great way for me to get to know Timothy, her son, who will be in my class next year.  He better watch out because I have some "dirt" on him now, LOL.
Each of these moments have helped provide the emotional and stress relief I've needed so that I can hope to be the best possible support for those I love who are in need.  I know many of my friends and family members are concerned about me and their simply words in person, in e-mail, in text, on Facebook, etc. mean so much.  If nothing else, the lessons surrounding this tragedy are that we need to make sure we communicate to those we love that we do care about them and also to allow others to share that love with us.

While I know it will separate me from the immediate situation here in central Oklahoma, I am strongly looking forward to my upcoming travels...even those that are work related like scoring the essays which high school students from throughout the USA/World wrote for the AP United States History exam.  Summer is a time to recharge in between school years and I know that I need to do as much of that as I can...because with the impact of the tornado I'll need to still be equipped to be a strong support system to my new students next year because they will still be dealing with the effects and changes on their lives.  It's time to let summer begin...
Junior Escorts lined up & ready for graduation

Seniors, Change Your Tassels!

Myriad Gardens before dinner

Chicken Fried Scallops

Tiki Spare Ribs

Desmond Mason's heart made of tornado debris

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