love moore.

i never meant to fall in love with oklahoma.

i didn’t want to make new friends. and i didn’t want red dirt stained on my thrift-store cowboy boots. i didn’t want heat strokes from burning summers or getting lost in a stretched out, vast city. i didn’t want to like football or use the word ‘y’all.’  and i didn’t want to stay.

but maybe you know what it’s like for everything to change.  loving oklahoma was undeniable in the same way it’s often impossible to catch yourself in the midst of a free-fall. life’s like that, you know. what seems like a temporary landing turns into a permanent longing.

maybe not everyone falls in love with places, but i do.

in the friendly waves from strangers on my way to work and the door held open while i was walking too slow.  in the new friends made while standing in line at the grocery store and the number of people that pull over when you are stranded on the side of the road. in the loneliness you never feel. the country roads and busy highways. those water-colored painted sunset skies. i’ll gladly keep the red-dirt stained on my boots from nights of line-dancing, casey donahew, and cowboy hats. lake hefner at sunset. the constant airplanes flying by. and i’ll take that summer heat for days full of laughter with some of the best people i’ve ever met. taco nights at iguana grill, date nights in bricktown, and brunch at cafe 501. oklahoma had taken my heart before i ever realized i’d given it away.

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i’m not from here in the way that you are.  i didn’t learn at any of the elementary schools the tornado hit, and i never rode my bike or skinned my knees in the neighborhoods that no longer exist.  i didn’t cheer in the high-school gyms that were damaged and i didn’t run through the grass at veteran’s memorial park or slide down that yellow slide. i’ve never gotten a speeding ticket on 4th street or had my birthday party at the bowling alley near the warren. i didn’t grow up knowing what a tornado shelter was and i haven’t had to previously rebuild. i didn’t drive down the roads in the aftermath of the tornado, devastated by the flooding of childhood memories while looking at what used to be. but my heart hurts all the same.

when things break, all i know is that you try to pick up the pieces and put it back together. that it takes time and tears. anger and grief. sorrow and hope. but what oklahoma has shown me is that you don’t have to do it alone.

and in the same heart that was breaking while trying to understand the impact of the devastation, it was being put back together by the overwhelming compassion and love of the oklahoman people. you see, community is when your soul aches for someone you don’t know but whose pain you want to take away.  a community is what stands up when your house no longer does. it starts to put everything back together when your world is falling apart. community means love seeping in through every corner.  community means no more bottled waters available at near-by grocery stores and wal-marts because they’ve already been purchased for donations.  it means every single person doing what they can in whatever way that might be. it means parking your car and walking miles and miles to volunteer. it means offering up your talent for something greater than yourself. community is where you find your home, even when you’ve lost it.

 i didn’t lose my child. my parent. my best friend. my dog. my brother. my high school year books or favorite blanket. i didn’t lose my wedding pictures. leather-man jacket or love letters. and i can’t pretend to understand what that feels like. i know that outpouring support and love cannot undo your heartache, but i hope it can offer you strength and comfort in all of the ways that you need.

i don’t know that i’ve ever seen anything as beautiful as watching people come together.

what i know is that i am glad to be here.

because oklahoma, you are beautiful.

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15 thoughts on “love moore.

  1. This is an inspiring blog. It really touched me and it’s so great to see that people actually care for one another.

  2. Oklahoma is beautiful! I have lived here all my life. I’ve cruised 12th street, looked out over the city from the top of the Sheridan’s parking garage, and ridden horses at Draper Lake. I love this place, but more importantly I love its people.

    1. i am going to have to steal some of those ideas! :) and i couldn’t agree more with your comment. i really believe that some of the best people on this planet live in oklahoma…thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment on this post, it really means a lot to me :)

  3. I may have not lost my house but I did lose a little part of me. I have been thru all the tornadoes with my family members so when it hit to close to home I was affected. Maybe not physically but mentally. My neighborhood means the world to me and just tonight when my 80 something neighbor was cutting on his tree I thought nothing about going to help him and haul to curb. My neighbors are my family and I love Moore and will always support our town.

  4. Thank you for sharing how God has made OK your home = so many people complain about being ‘put here’ = thank you for allowing the love that is OK to fill you up and then pour it out to those from whom you have received it!

  5. My husband and I grew up in OK. We no longer live there but a piece of us will always be there. We feel the pain the storms have caused. But we also feel the pride and love that is Oklahoma.

  6. I moved to Oklahoma 19 years ago and I don’t wanna go anywhere else this describes how I feel exactly to a tee

  7. Moore has been my home for 50 years, and I love it so, so much…..so seeing the destruction all around me is quite depressing. When I read your blog it cheered me up a little….hard to do lately. Nice to see that growing up here is not the only reason others love Oklahoma! There is lots to love here! :)

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