Nothing and Everything
As a bit of time has passed, hopefully we are able to put the death and destruction from the
Oklahoma tornadoes in some type of perspective. Although a tragedy of that nature can never be
fully understood, there are lessons to be learned.
My most lasting memory is of a young father being interviewed on the radio. As he stood with
his wife and two children on the spot of barren dirt that hours before had been his home and
everything he owned, he spoke the words I will keep with me always. He said, "We have lost
absolutely everything. We have nothing left other than the clothes on our backs." Then, after a
brief pause, he continued, "But I guess we are lucky since our whole family is safe and sound.
We have everything important."
To have lost everything and still have everything seems contradictory, but it's not. As I reflect
on the lessons presented by the young father, I realize that we all spend a lot of time
accumulating things that in the final analysis have little importance. And often, we don't
understand what is really precious until the less significant things are gone.
The devastated areas will be rebuilt and restored; the broken, shattered lives will be put back
together; and the families who have lost loved ones will somehow find the strength to go on. As
a people, we seem to define ourselves during the most trying times. Within hours of the
tornadoes, nameless volunteers appeared and worked tirelessly and selflessly for days.
Truckloads of food and supplies were gathered and rushed to those in need. Emergency crews,
government and private agencies, as well as churches and nonprofit organizations all had their
Sometimes we seem to be at our best when life deals us its worst.
The capacity of people to dig out from the rubble of their shattered lives and dreams and-
within a few days-be building back, bigger and better, makes us all proud. But let us never
forget that, when you've lost everything that you own but you still have your friends and family
around you and the desire to go on, you still have everything.
As time continues to pass, please don't forget that our friends and neighbors will need our help
and support for months and-in some cases-years to come. They need our best, and we can do
Today's the day!