Mark Davis: The worst horrors, the best of human nature
Barbara Garcia is one tough woman, with one tough dog.
Standing amid the wreckage that was once her home, she calmly told a TV reporter about the minutes she spent clinging to bathroom fixtures — and to life — as one of the Oklahoma tornadoes roared over her Monday afternoon.
She and her dog were executing their tornado survival plan, but the violence of the storm pitched her into another room as the house was reduced to rubble.
“I hollered for my little dog … but he didn’t come, so I know he’s in here somewhere,” she said, scanning the lifeless ruins behind her. The reporter asked another question but interrupted herself.
“The dog!” she exclaimed, spotting a wriggling face beneath a mound of twisted metal. The two women extracted the dog from the razor-sharp debris as Barbara cried with joy.
As her dog shook off dust and no small amount of shock, she observed: “I thought God answered just one prayer, to let me be OK, but he answered both of them. This was my second prayer.”
Amid the heavy emotional drain of absorbing so much death and loss, this story was a welcome oasis.
But then it snapped me back to the larger picture. Why were her prayers answered while the prayers of dozens of nearby parents were not? Why are Barbara and her schnauzer healing while funeral homes prepare caskets of all sizes for the days to come?
Faith teaches that we are not to know those answers in this life, which spares many the consuming questions of “Why?”
We can ask, but there will be no answer. There is only the latest tornado, linked to last week’s tornado in Granbury, linked to every other tornado ever, linked to every hurricane and earthquake that ever cost lives or leveled buildings.
It is easy to be lost in the powerlessness of such events. When not even a sturdy school building can protect the children within, what are we to do?
We will not be building every future school with foot-thick concrete walls. We will build them as we always have and roll the dice that no tornado will arise strong enough to destroy them.
And when disasters strike, we will respond. For while we may be powerless to prevent such tragedies of nature, we do have resources of prayer, toil and finances to help rebuild shattered lives.
In Moore and Granbury, just as in the fertilizer plant explosion in West one month ago, the worst horrors bring out the best in human nature.
We see it in first responders, neighbors, relief workers and volunteers. I saw it in a teacher who described throwing her body over six children as the winds tore at them at Plaza Towers Elementary School.
She is alive, and so are those children. I can feel the gratitude from 200 miles away.
We all see the tears as well, the grief of dozens of families who have lost so much to this latest evidence of what nature can do.
Meanwhile, what we can do is pray for the victims, contribute to relief efforts and protect ourselves by following safety directives if such a fate bears down on us.
As I hit “send” on this column, the word came down that the Cleburne ISD was dismissing all schools hours before the first expected drop of rain Tuesday.
For a second I thought: overreaction? But only for a second.
With TV screens filled with Oklahoma images, and with fresh memories of Granbury just 30 miles to the west, can anyone blame them?
The Mark Davis Show airs from 7 to 10 a.m. weekdays on KSKY-AM (660). He can be reached at email@example.com.
Published: 21 May 2013 08:06 PM
Updated: 21 May 2013 08:06 PM