I knew I was definitely going to write about Oklahoma today. If there is one place that I think of when I think "childhood," it is Lawton/Ft. Sill, OK, where I attended 4th through half of 8th grade (when we moved to Japan). Not only do I still proudly say "y'all," many of my most significant memories from school and church have their roots in the dusty soil of the Sooner State. Indeed, one of my "perfect days" came in 5th grade when my best friend, JoLynn Carter, and I spent the afternoon walking far out onto the glorious prairie that stretched behind my house (we walked so far it also scared our mothers silly, but their annoyance/frantic scolding--whatever--on our return didn't really faze me and perhaps we'll ignore it here too!).
Of course, tornado drills were a frequent part of school. And I remember a fair number of tornados too, including the "Terrible Tuesday" tornado that struck Lawton (and Wichita Falls, TX) in 1979. It is an understatement to say that the devastation was incredible--I can still picture, for example, the huge metal signs at one of the car dealerships bent over to the ground and businesses completely gone.
Thus, my heart goes out to the folks in Oklahoma. But I don't have anything beyond that to say, really. Partly, because I think we "over-talk" tragedies. Sometimes there's nothing much to be said.
But also because as I've been finishing my grading today, I took a break or two (don't judge!) and came across a couple of things that I wanted to share--and they seemed like better responses anyway. And that's one of the joys of having a place to blog: it doesn't always have to be me. Noticiing things is only fun when you get to show them to other people.
So three things:
First, a provocative commencement speech given by the artist Makoto Fujimura at Messiah College. David Foster Wallace's "This is Water" has been making the rounds again of late--now in a video form--but Fujimura's asks some important questions as well.
Second, the very inspiring story of Zach Sobiech, who died Sunday, is going viral. Watch and see why:
Third, a moment of joy.
What more can be said after that?