Thursday, May 22, 2014

COMFORT: Revisiting Resilience from May 20, 2013

h/t Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center
This post was from last year (5/28/13), reflecting  on the May 20th tornado that impacted Oklahoma and the Nation as well. I am comforted by the recent tributes to the ordinary heroes and the recovery and resilience of our communities.  The Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center is exhibiting a collection of photographs entitled "Not just another day in May" through the end of this month at Leadership Square in OKC.  
On May 20, 2013  I was at work in a parent conference with a new family. We didn't hear the sirens but the dark green sky and hail spurred us into action. We waited and made small talk as we listened to the radio in our safe place (the women’s room).  In Oklahoma we get very specific information about tornadoes, and we were informed that one had touched down about 20 miles away.

Later that evening in our own homes we watched the Godzilla like tornado that devastated Moore and surrounding towns.   In gratitude for our own safety, we all held our breath waiting for news of survivors, and lives lost. 

It will take years to rebuild the structure of towns like Moore, and Shawnee Oklahoma.  
But the community building began immediately.  That is resilience in action.

By May 21st there were local disaster relief sites organized by scouts, schools, churches, and realtors each finding a spot on the sidewalk to collect water and Gatorade.  People were walking around Wal-Mart and Loews with supply lists.  In the most affected areas neighbors were helping neighbors clean debris and look for pets, photos, and Bibles.   Social media connected us to distant communities who have been through disasters, reaching out because they understand, they have been there too.

When tornadoes, hurricanes, or terrorists strike, we have a choice.  We can get cynical and depressed, or we can bounce back. The best plan for recovery is to look for the helpers, the heroes, the miracles.  Seek opportunities to be helpful, and build resilience. 
*Find your safe place. Help your neighbor. Support your community*