NORMAN — Since May 20 rocked the lives of countless Oklahomans I have been struck with one undeniable truth: The human spirit’s capacity for resiliency is unbounded.
In the midst of what has been described as devastation or a living nightmare, I have been witness to many who stand as beacons of faith, bravery and courage.
These individuals embody the idea of a silver lining — finding glittering flecks of hope when most would accept defeat.
It would seem these Okies took a cue from Oscar Wilde. While countless are in the gutter of loss, many can’t help but to look at the glimmer of stars.
Among the stargazers are those creatively using their talents to lighten the load of their fellow Oklahomans. Almost immediately after the May tornadoes weakened and dissipated, they descended upon the destruction like angels from heaven: School teachers comforting students, neighbors checking on neighbors, first responders administering aid and medical personnel working around the clock.
As the dust settled, others got to work forming donation centers where donors dropped off every imaginable necessity. Shelters popped up around the metroplex in dormitories, churches, hotels and apartment complexes. Clean-up crews came out in droves from throughout the state and nation to assist in state-wide recovery efforts.
And soon, artists set about restoring beauty.
As discussed in this month’s cover story on page , Oklahoma artists united to serve in any way they could. Musicians wrote original songs of grief and hope and quickly assembled to host benefit concerts. Visual artists created works to commemorate the experience and sell for recovery efforts. Writers wrote essays and poems documenting the events.
The collaborative effort of artists and non-artists alike created an environment that fostered charity and removed loneliness and vulnerability for everyone reeling from the destruction. Many have found themselves bonding with strangers over a good clean-up session or a benefit concert, a simple reminder that no matter our station in life we are all human — all capable of feeling sorrow, pain, joy and optimism, and for the same reasons, from the same sources of inspiration.
Though many were stripped of their worldly possessions in the month of May, what has remained is an awe-inspiring demonstration of humans using their God-given talents to uplift and bless the downtrodden.
There’s no doubt in my mind, Oklahoma: You’ve made me a stargazer forever. Thank you for the reminder that life can be incandescently beautiful despite the darkest of trials.
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