Daily Archives: May 21, 2013

Tuesday Morning Press 25 — On Randomness


Yesterday was awful for our country; the massive EF-4 tornado that ripped through Moore, Oklahoma, devastated, killed, flattened, destroyed and shattered lives, businesses, livelihoods, schools, churches and everything we hold most dear: emotional security.

At times like these, people want to blame someone, something: a policy, a procedure, a handbook, a code. They can’t.

This isn’t a hurricane we’re talking about; it’s a tornado. Tornadoes evaporate just as quickly and unreliably as they manifest.

Lots of questions that really have no answer abound: why were kids in school? Why weren’t people in basements? Why weren’t people sheltered?

The answer is simple and rational: you can’t prepare for a tornado. You. Just. Can’t.

You can wait in your basement, you can go to your safe room, but the point is: you don’t know where it will actually ever strike, nor do you know its intensity when it does strike.

During Hurricane Isabel, back in 2003 (I think), my neighbors had a large tree, about 60′ in height. We were mostly dealing with winds and rain. All of a sudden, I saw that tree not sway anymore, but twist from 40′ down and torque and fly into my yard and land on my kids’ playset. That wasn’t a hurricane wind shear, it was a microburst. I live in northern Virginia. Tornadoes don’t happen here very often. We get blistering heat, hurricanes, autumnal winds that will chap your face, and other acts of Mother Nature.

So to the people want to blame something. A government, Al Qaeda (just kidding), a policy… stop.

Sit with the discomfort of your inability to make sense of this.

There is no sense to be made.

We survive or we die.

This is life. It is precious. As random as things are and they TRULY are, you must embrace the fact that you have no control. The ONE THING WE CAN COUNT ON IS THIS: we will all die, at one time or another, usually without our consent or warning. There will likely be no need for a safe room or a tornado shelter; there will likely be no government policy that should have been in place to have prevented our death.

Life is precious, death is certain. Enjoy every moment you can, stop blaming policies or people or governments or weather systems… there is nothing that could have prevented anyone from perishing yesterday. Nothing.

Those massive tornadoes are often called the “Finger of God” and I can tell you this: it’s an apt description.

To anyone who wants to ask, “where was God when this happened?” I counter with: “Where was God when you were born? When you made it through a crisis, an addiction, a horror? Or cancer?” God was there. Just as He is when someone dies or suffers. Believe in Him or not, call it “Fate” or “Destiny” or the “Universe.” Call it whatever you want, but don’t make the mistake of trying to make sense of it. Don’t even think about talking about the environment right now. Don’t make me add you to the list of people who just need to shut the @(*& up right now. It’s not about you and your posturing.

If you pray, do. “Ora” as we say in Latin, pray. Worrying won’t help; it hinders. Donate funds to the American Red Cross:

This has been a major disaster, and the Red Cross will be there for the people in this state and this community. People who wish to make a donation can support American Red Cross Disaster Relief, which helps provide food, shelter and emotional support to those affected by disasters like the recent tornadoes in Oklahoma and Texas as well as disasters big and small throughout the United States by visiting redcross.org, dialing 1-800-REDCROSS or texting REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

My thoughts of compassion and sadness dart from the school to the homes to the pets to the kids to the businesses to the school… there is no rest from sadness of the story. There are many good points though — the stories we hear now, about the cleaning up and finding of survivors. We call them heroes, but they might shun that label; they are doing what any of us would. Despite all this sadness and destruction, it is the human spirit that leaves me awestruck and humbled.

As for your life as you have it: enjoy what you can, help those in need, be present and stop blaming. There is no one to blame.

Thank you.