What Tornadoes Teach Us About Life

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PHOTO: Sue Ogrocki/AP

On May 20th, a twister ripped through the town of Moore, Oklahoma, killing two dozen people. The day after, the citizens of Moore were left to pick up the pieces of hundreds of demolished homes and mourn the loss of loved ones.

Those who lost loved ones are not going to be able to appreciate life for a while; they are going to be mourning, and they will need an outpouring of love and support to get back to a place of normalcy.

Some will not wake up feeling lucky to be alive, they will feel a rock sitting on their chests, and it will be hard to get out of bed. My heart goes out to each and every one of the people in Moore who are suffering from the loss of a loved one, truly and sincerely, and I wish them the ability to vividly remember the fondest moments of the lives they shared with the loved ones they have lost, and I hope those memories comfort them. My heart has broken for them a thousand times over this week as I combed through the news stories of the Oklahoma tornado.

For others in Moore who survived the tornado and who did not suffer the loss of a loved one, they will feel lucky to be alive, and they will understand just how precious the moments of consciousness on this earth are. A YouTube video I ran across after the tornado struck had me in tears, tears of happiness, joy and appreciation. In the video, an old woman is being interviewed by a news station and she tells of when the tornado struck her home.  She was holding her dog when the cyclone hit and when it was over, she said her dog was lost under the pile of rubble that was once her house. A person in the background spots her dog under some debris, and the old woman is overjoyed!  You can watch the video for yourself here (caution: will cause feelings of happiness):

I live in tornado alley and so I have had some of my own experiences with these natural mechanisms of destruction. My own experiences have certainly taught me to appreciate every moment of life that I am afforded, because any future life moments can be stripped away from you at any time. Years ago, a tornado spun and swirled through my town and demolished duplexes that were so very close to my house where I was sleeping. That night, I woke up at around 3 in the morning. I stepped outside, and it wasn’t raining or anything, but it was a bright orange color outside. I thought this was strange, that in the middle of the night the sky was an orange color, as though the clouds had been set on fire. I went back inside and went to sleep, not knowing about the twister that had shown its presence.

When I woke up at my normal time that morning, I thought about the orange sky I had seen, and thought maybe I had dreamt it until I stepped outside. The shed behind our house, and all of its contents, were completely gone, save for its wooden floor. The rowboat sitting a few dozen feet from the shed, close to the house, was untouched. The young trees sitting farther in the distance from the shed were intact. I was intact. My son was intact.

I went inside and turned on a local channel, watching the devastation that the cyclone created not very far from our home and I had an overwhelming sense of relief when I found out not one person had perished from the tornado in the town where I lived. Only injury was inflicted on victims, only material belongings destroyed. Oh, what a fortunate lot we mortals were on that day! Oh, the joy and happiness at being alive!

And so this is what we as mortals can learn from unfortunate disasters such as the Oklahoma tornado: life is precious, do what you can while you are here, strive to make every moment of consciousness afforded to you the best moments they can be, strive to make other’s moments the best they can be, and don’t waste one moment on the trivial, the mundane, or the hatefulness that plagues the human race. Strive for love, for compassion, for kindness, for change, for the good life that you and every single one of us deserve.  Take all of your worthless hate, put it in a pitcher, and pour that shit down the drain. Make every moment count!  Not just for yourself, but for others who are lucky enough to experience this consciousness that we call life. We are all so very lucky. We are all so very fortunate that all of the ingredients that make up our bodies came together in just the right way that we were born, that we were given a chance to live life to its fullest, whatever that may mean for each one of us. For goodness sakes, don’t waste it!  Your life, your consciousness, could end at any time for any number of reasons.

“And so this is what we as mortals can learn from unfortunate disasters such as the Oklahoma tornado: life is precious, do what you can while you are here, strive to make every moment of consciousness afforded to you the best moments they can be, strive to make other’s moments the best they can be, and don’t waste one moment on the trivial, the mundane, or the hatefulness that plagues the human race.”

“When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive – to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.”- Marcus Aurelius

 

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