Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Prayer for Moore
There are parents in Moore, Oklahoma, right at this very moment, who haven't slept because their children, their darling school-age children, are still somewhere in what little is left of the school where yesterday morning, when the bell rang, they sat in their chairs, innocent as doves.
What those moms and dads, kids themselves really, are going through right now is beyond imagination. They can't dig through the rubble themselves, though they would if they could. Only search-and-rescue people can. Those parents know for a fact the death toll is rising. No one has a clear idea where that number might stop. They can do nothing, absolutely nothing, but cry and pray in a home that must seem horrifically empty.
And God doesn't appear to be helping either. It's supposed to rain this morning in Moore, Oklahoma, rain hard--lightning and thunder, even hail. Nothing destructive, of course, because there is nothing left to destruct; but rain isn't what the searchers need right now. Nor is it what their children need if, by some miracle, they're still alive beneath walls that are no longer walls.
I can't really imagine how hard it must be to keep hope alive.
I came in yesterday, opened my e-mail, and discovered a news story about a massive tornado in Oklahoma. I've got kids in Oklahoma. They're no longer kids, really, but, for a parent, I suppose, they will forever be kids--mine.
Two days ago they left our place to go back home. We checked the weather before they left because that tornado that hit Moore yesterday was no surprise--in intensity and scope and range, yes; but people knew the elements were conspiring to create a killer cocktail. If you live in Oklahoma, you live with tornadoes.
On the way home on Sunday, they missed the twister that hit Wichita, got through the city before it set down--not by much either. And yesterday, Stillwater, where they live, was just outside the path of the monster, maybe an hour away, north.
So when I texted them ("Are u ok?"), they replied immediately that they were--that the monster had hit considerably south, that they weren't even in a shelter, that everything was okay but that whatever had hit Moore was awful. They too had been watching Oklahoma City television.
Friends called us, concerned. We could tell them, joyfully, that our kids were untouched, if anyone in Oklahoma can be "untouched" by what happened yesterday.
On my way to my grandchildren's school program, I got a call from my mother's pastor, who told me that she could use a call from me because she was deeply concerned about her grandchildren in Oklahoma.
I hadn't even thought of Mom.
So I called her. She's 94. She was worried sick, she said--and so had the preacher who had happened to drop by. She too had been watching TV, so a heavy dose of all that grief and sadness made it into her apartment. How could she help not thinking of her Oklahoma grandchildren?
We're fine, and our kids are. What do we know about concern?
This morning I can't help but think of those parents whose sweet little kids never left the Plaza Towers Elementary School, kids who are still there--unless they are already with the Lord.
Those moms and dads must be thinking that. They have to be.
Morning has come to the disaster that is Moore, Oklahoma. Some say it was the biggest tornado ever. Some folks are unaccounted for. Many of them are children.
I'd like to say they belong to all of us, but they don't. Mine are safe. Theirs are not. Theirs are still somewhere in the rubbish.
God, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.
Posted by J. C. Schaap at 6:52 AM