The random destruction of natural disasters has always been something intangible to me, a 2 minute news story to be consumed for small talk fodder. Even when I lived in NYC during Hurricane Sandy, my life was marginally inconvenienced at worst. I have lived a sheltered, self-centered life that I very nearly took from myself in active addiction.
I viewed community service through that paradigm: a school or work mandated chore to be slogged through. Then I spent an evening in a walk-in fridge, in Moore Oklahoma while a tornado indiscriminately ravaged homes and took a life.
My senses undulled, I was afraid in that moment, grateful to be safe, and then struck by the undeserved suffering those next two days. I won’t soon forget the families huddled together in destroyed homes or the throngs of volunteers that flooded the streets to help those in need.
As our group wandered the streets in search of destruction, I found a more profound sense of pride in myself and peers. Yes, this trip was planned and required but the dedication to help others could not be forced.
I have been extremely fortunate that family, friends, and strangers rallied to my aid in the aftermath of my addiction – my personal emotional tornado.
Giving back without expectation of compensation felt new and freeing. Picking up the dirty diapers, severed roofing, and downed trees the tornado left in the wake was cathartic but the resilience and warmth shown by the residents breathed hope back into to the world: both into Moore, OK and my life.
For more pictures of our trip to Moore, Oklahoma click here!
Jaywalker Solutions Client