Prayers for Oklahoma
by Peggy Browning
There are few words that can describe what happened in Moore, Oklahoma on May 20, or what happened in Shawnee, Oklahoma on the day before, or in Granbury, Texas the previous Wednesday. There are few words, but we stop to say prayers for Oklahoma and for Texas and for everyone who was and will continue to be affected by the tornadoes.
Some of the words we use to describe what happened are: devastation, loss, death, grief, horrific, and massive. Others words used are: hope, love, loyalty, courage, heroes, and miracle.
President Obama asked that we follow our prayers for Oklahoma with deeds. There are so many needs and we, of course, desire to respond to them.
We Americans are generous and we want to help our neighbors. We gather our resources…our cast-off clothing…our belongings that we can spare…and we share them. We send food and clothing and other things that may or may not be necessary.
Right now the words that describe the needs are: diapers, water, shelter, money. Money is important. Money can be used to supply those needs. The stores in Oklahoma and Texas are not closed…they are not in short supply of necessities…if you have money, you can still buy your necessities. It’s the money that can be in short supply.
When a Texas town was destroyed by an F-5 tornado, a well-known food company sent supplies. They sent an 18-wheeler truck full of salad dressing. When the mayor of the town called to thank them, but also told them that they had no use for salad dressing because they had no salad…no electricity…no shelter to store the salad dressing…the company responded by sending a truckload of salad. The food company was generous…but not responding to the needs. The people of the town thanked them and the salad spoiled because there was still no electricity or a place to store an 18-wheeler of greens. The generators were being used to power other necessities…things more important than salad.
I find myself heart-broken thinking of the suffering of my neighbors. Tonight I will make a pot of potato soup and a pan of cornbread to give myself some comfort in this tragedy. I wish I could take away their sorrow as easily. I will hold my grandchildren closer and I will tell my children that I love them because we never know what will happen tomorrow. And I will send up prayers for Oklahoma and Texas.
I wish I could change what happened in Oklahoma and Texas, but there is nothing I can do to change it. I can help in other ways. I’ll send money…not now…but later…because it is always needed and always appreciated.
And if all the money that’s given can’t be used immediately, it can be stored away to use on another day, unlike salad. Their needs are great; my capacity to give is small. But I can give what I can…
If your heart tells you to help those in the storm’s path, give money. Give time. Help, but don’t get in the way. If you aren’t needed today, be patient. You may be needed tomorrow or next week or six months from now. The damage from the storms will have a long-lasting effect. If you can’t help today, you can help later.
Send your money to the Red Cross and the Salvation Army. And continue to say prayers for Oklahoma and for Texas, too.
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