I have been watching the television coverage of the Oklahoma disaster and was initially struck by the lack of self-pity evidenced by the residents who had lost their homes. Maybe it was the people the reporters chose to interview or the specific families the editors featured but I noticed a consistent expression of gratitude and hope on behalf of individuals whose homes and memories had been swept away in an instant. I suppose that when your entire world is squashed and you look around in a daze and find that the people you love most—the one completely irreplaceable substance in your life—intact, nothing else really matters.
I have spent a good amount of time in my life feeling sorry for myself and bemoaning the injustice of certain circumstances in my story. And in Oklahoma there is an entire community of people who have lost everything and yet they are full of courage, faith and a desire to rebuild. How wonderful to crawl out of an underground chamber, witness utter devastation and with a shrug of your shoulders decide to get to work. Where does that come from and more importantly . . . how do I get some of that elixir?
I am weary of listening to people complain about the petty injustices of their lives and more significantly, I am sick of hearing it come out of my own mouth! When I look at those teachers who threw themselves on top of their students to save them from a cyclone, when I listen to a ninety-year-old woman whose home has been destroyed twice by nature, when I witness a parent burying their child and offering comfort to the mourners, I wonder if it is possible to abandon past behavior and become such a noble, courageous and hopeful person overnight? Is it possible to begin a new day without complaint or self-pity or morbid obsession with the past? George Elliot said, “it’s never too late to become the person you might have been.” I don’t want to wait for an earthquake or a plague to demonstrate courage—I would prefer to climb out of the dark subterranean shelter of the past and begin right now to be the person God created me to be. Would you like to join me?“Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.” Meg Cabot~