In 20 years of covering news and chasing storms, I have never seen anything like what happened Monday.
On Monday afternoon, it was a big deal to me that my third grader has trouble catching pop-ups in baseball.
I was so happy that he had pulled his B+ math grade up to an A- by the end of the school year.
Those things seemed so important. And then a huge tornado ripped through Moore, Okla. wiped out the Plaza Tower Elementary School.
I saw third graders there yelling for their fathers after being pulled from the rubble where their school stood just minutes before. I saw teachers carrying injured kids away from the damage. I heard the pained cries of parents who were waiting and hoping as the school was searched and lifeless bodies of third graders - who had been laughing and playing at recess only hours before - were pulled from the rubble.
Since joining a newsroom in 1994, I have chased storms as news events. I was there when the May 3, 1999 tornado came down from the sky and we chased it out of our county as it headed into Moore.
Monday’s twister covered much of the same ground.
But in 20 years of covering news and chasing storms, I have never seen anything like what happened Monday.
No one has.
Mike Morgan, a meteorologist with KFOR television in Oklahoma City called it the most damaging tornado in the history of the world.
It would be hard to argue that fact.
The storm was powerful and prolonged. That, combined with its path through urban residential areas made it a worst-case scenario.
More than 51 confirmed fatalities have been reported. At least 40 more are already expected. Many more are possible as the debris is cleared.
Good grades and fun sports are important and have their place in a happy life.
Those are the very things these Oklahoma parents who lost young children and children who lost their parents will miss after a monster storm devastated their families and community.
But times like these restore the perspective we all lose when we start focusing on little trees in our lives and forget about the forests we should always see.
Cherish your children and every second with them – even if they drop a few pop-ups or those grades don’t come up like you hoped.
We never know when life will take away that which we take for granted.
God never promised us a perfect, happy life.
That comes later.
But He did promise to be here for us when times like these come.
Psalm 34:18 says, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”
A lot of us are brokenhearted right now and our spirits are certainly crushed.
All we can do is trust in God and make sure our hands, feet and wallets follow our hearts as we help our neighbors who have endured the worst tragedy we can imagine.