I have a career I am passionate about, working at a place that I love because of the difference it makes in the world. I don’t talk about it much in this space, mostly because after dealing with heavy issues like world hunger and chronic poverty all day, I prefer to spend my personal time focusing on and writing about some of the more beautiful things in life. But professionally, I am a writer for an international disaster relief and humanitarian aid organization.
Needless to say, for the past week since the massive tornado in Oklahoma I have been very, very busy.
When a disaster happens, we kick into overdrive. There’s an air of adrenaline as we try to beat the clock churning out media so our partners know what is going on. We are the connection between our “boots on the ground” team and those who make all of our work possible, our donors. It is amazing and humbling to be used as a conduit at such times!
But there is so much heartbreak. For the first few days, we hold our breath against each new update. How bad is it? How many injured? How many lives lost? We get firsthand reports from our team on the ground and we feel the pain. Even though I mostly work furiously from inside an office these days, I have also seen it firsthand. The Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina hit–I held hands as families surveyed the wreckage that was once their home. Haiti a few short months after the 2010 earthquake–I saw devastation beyond comprehension, broken hearts beyond repair.
And as always, as the shock fades and the news media begin to drift away, we are still there, and the heartache continues.
This year, though, I feel it in a new way.
I think losing Michael has given me a window into the anguish that some of these families are facing–waking up tomorrow without their loved ones. It’s so painful, so raw.
My heart is broken for those in Moore, Oklahoma in a new way. And my prayers are ever more fervent because of it.
It is sometimes hard to imagine anything good coming of losing Michael, but perhaps there are small things. Like empathy. Like prayer. Like surrender.
Join me in praying for those in Oklahoma today. Please.