The End?

In light of the recent tornadoes in Central OK, I’ve been a little adverse to writing about any experience I may be having. My petty end-of-the-first year is so small and SHOULD be eclipsed by the horror of what happened on Sunday and Monday night. How dare I assert my petty-day-to-day when families are mourning the loss of their babies? While families are still displaced? While everything people own is scattered and shredded and mildewing? While people are separated from their pets, their comfort in times of distress (Sorry, I’m a dog person now… think what you will!). However, it is important to know that life keeps going. Pain happens, sucky things happen: but life goes on. But I’ll get to that here in a bit…

First of all, I’d like to thank all of my friends and family who have called me and texted me and donated in some way to this horrible, horrible chain of events. You never know how loved you are until you get a million texts making sure you’re okay! I never knew how hard it was to be in a tornadic situation by yourself. I once took care of a whole dorm (granted, it was over Easter break so there weren’t many there…) and I felt less pressure and concern then than I did taking care of myself. I think it has something to do with being responsible and having something to take your mind of things… but no matter: this weekend was rough. But, I had plenty of support and I am going to call on that support a little further…

I have consistently been offering prayers every waking moment of the last few days, and I urge you to do the same. In brokenness, there is rebirth. But it is a long, long hard road. If you’re reading this from out of state, please check out my Facebook or my twitter for ways you can help. A quick and easy one is to text STORM to 80888 for $10 for the Salvation Army. When the dust settles, I’ll be heading out with Samaritan’s Purse to help rebuild (you can donate to them as well!). I’ve been so impressed with how quickly everyone has come together. I’m honored to be a part of a state that feels like a family. Everyone, I mean EVERYONE has come together to help. I’m sure even the rubberneckers on I-35 who are holding up traffic have donated or shared themselves in this effort. A few of my students lost their homes on Sunday night so besides this horrible chain of events happening in my state (because I now, more than ever, consider myself an OKIE), this hit home. Literally. This came to a place where my heart is. And it destroyed stuff! I was just in Moore and Edmond the other day! I was looking forward to seeing some of my students for the last time this semester on Monday! This hurt me. If it can hurt me emotionally, just imagine what it has done to the thousands who are displaced! Please, please take a moment to pray for comfort and healing and strength, and please PLEASE donate to one of the amazing charities that are working ceaselessly for the people of Moore.

In tragic times like this, much like Camus would advocate, and YOU KNOW Christ would, we must move forward. We must keep going. If we breathe: WE LIVE. We go on. We rebuild. We recover. We stand together. Yes, we weep with those who weep, and mourn with those who mourn. But we rejoice with those who rejoice! Everyone who survived has a reason to rejoice! It doesn’t seem like it, and I sure as heck know that the parents of the Plaza Towers kids feel like there is not hope. But did you see that sunset just hours after the tornado? Did you see all of the first-responders and how quickly, methodically, and passionately they did their jobs? Did you see how many people rose up INSTANTLY to help? There were so many heroes. So many stories of reunion. It is needless to say that this situation is horrible, it is devastating, it seems unnecessary… But there is hope. And because of that hope… I am going to finish this blog out with a few reflections on my first year as a teacher.

It would be arbitrary to compare my first year to a tornado… It would also be ill-timed… But I’ll be honest: I had a bad year. I went through my post-grade identity-crisis VERY soon after graduating and thus spent most of the summer and ALL of my first semester sulking. I will also be honest in that: I had no idea what I was doing or what I was getting myself into when I walked into the classroom on August 10. I was a naive, inept little baby. And it showed. I spent a lot of times crying and hating my job. I didn’t even like my students, really. But God really got ahold of me over break and I stepped into this semester with a confidence in my God-given abilities that I’ve never had before.

I can say now that I am a teacher. I can say now that I don’t really know anything in the grand scheme of things, but I am learning new things every day. I love each and every one of my students, especially the bad ones. My job isn’t a job, it’s my ministry. It’s my calling. I may not be the world’s best teacher, or the smartest, or the most liked, and certainly not the most hated… but by-golly… I love my job. It’s been a really, really, REALLY tough year but I made it out the other side. In approximately 30 hours, I’ll be on summer-time. I’m so unbelievably ready to leave and enjoy the summer and have adventure. But, I can say without a doubt in my mind: I’m excited to come back next year. AFTER AN APPROPRIATE AND LENGTH BREAK, of course…

Please keep Oklahoma in your prayers! It’s a long hard road ahead… but there’s hope. We have to know there’s hope.

MK

 

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