As I mentioned a few blog posts back, I have been closely watching Twitter’s famous “Trending Hashtags”. So far I have explored 3 random topics that got hundreds, if not thousands, of people talking. I won’t show all my cards, but rest assured, they bring up very interesting table conversations. Today, however, social media posts sing a different tune and we are all listening.
The tornado disaster that hit Oklahoma yesterday has been resonating with the rest of the country and I must say, it is truly admirable to see these responses. Through incomprehensible shootings to marathon bombings, the United States has remained a cohesive unit– (n) A group regarded as a distinct entity within a larger group.
According to an article in The Guardian:
“The tornado lasted about an hour on Monday, when it tore through farmland outside Oklahoma City, crossed a river and then headed into Moore. It destroyed hundreds of homes and shops, wiped out two schools and a hospital and left more than 240 people injured, including at least 60 children.”
I have sat here, in front of this familiar screen, attempting to understand my feelings about this whole thing. Sometimes, I must push through those initial reactions of shock, sadness, and anger before truly deciphering what it is that my heart is trying to say. After reading a few articles and watching a handful of videos, I came across an old blog post pertaining to the “advantages of natural disasters” (yes, you read right). Nat Nanton speaks of making monumental life-changes in light of almost having lost it all.
I have been affected by a book in the last couple of weeks. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho has made its way into most of my life experiences, always finding a dot to connect itself to. As the protagonist, a young boy, makes his way into dangerous paths in pursuit of his Personal Legend, he embraces his potential death:
“Walking along in the the silence, he had no regrets. If he died tomorrow, it would be because God was not willing to change the future […]. He had lived every one of his days intensely since he had left home so long ago. If he died tomorrow, he would already have seen more than other shepherds, and he was proud of that”
The truth is that dying in a car crash, or in a tornado, or diving off a cliff holds the same power. A trending hashtag is enough to throw us off, but not because people are not genuinely praying for those affected, but because most of us don’t believe it could happen to us. We don’t. I don’t.
It is easy to lose sight of this, and join a conversation, but tomorrow, when the hashtag is gone, what will happen to you?
The key lies in doing as the boy, and living every day intensely; aware of the choices we make and the prints we leave for others in our name. So in remembrance of those in #Oklahoma who won’t get today or tomorrow to live as they would have wished, let’s ask ourselves: