One year ago, the town of Moore, Oklahoma was hit by an EF5 tornado. 17 miles of land destroyed. $2 billion in property damage. And 24 human lives taken.
With the financial and emotional support of friends, family and some kind Nebraskans, two friends and myself jumped in a car and headed south to help in any way we were asked. There was absolutely no way we could have prepared ourselves for what we were about to experience.
It's extremely difficult to explain how alien that town looked — deserted, but freshly so. It was impossible not to consider the lives ripped wide open, quite literally and metaphorically. It was a bizarre emotion that I hadn't felt and hope to never feel again to stand in the middle of a living room of someone I'll never meet, rubble at my toes and the blue sky above my head. Home after home, life after life, abandoned and obliterated — stripped to the foundation.
Looking at things like this little guitar, I couldn't help but rewind my own life and consider how irreversibly damaging that would have been to me as a child. How do you tell a child that everything will be okay? I can't imagine attempting to explain to whoever owned this that life is fair and good and you don't need to be afraid of this. I can't imagine being a father and a husband put into this situation. A time where, despite your best efforts, you couldn't protect them. You didn't have a chance. That exact situation happened to hundreds of families in this small town. And that rocked me.
Twentysomethings like myself often take lightly the fragility of human life. After seeing all this, I can't. Not anymore. I don't know your story. I don't know what God, if any, you pray to at night. But I urge you, whoever you are, take a chance to remember what happened in Moore, Oklahoma. Let it touch you. And be thankful for all you've been given and had the chance to make for yourself.