In April 1995 I was in 5th grade in Tulsa, OK. A city a little over 100 miles away from our state capital Oklahoma City.
On April 19th of that year I clearly remember watching teachers huddle together discussing something. I didn't know what they were discussing but I can remember the looks on their faces and the hushed conversations.
I have always been investigative if you will. My mom would probably just call this nosey as I always listened to her conversations with friends trying to figure out what they were talking about.
I still do this with my husband, and he finds it absurd when I can tell him exactly what the people next to us at a restaurant have going on in their life.
So, being who I am (nosey) it was only natural that I observe the teachers that day and their discussions. I had no idea what was going on, but it wasn't good.
Then throughout the day there was talk of a bombing in our state. Not too much was said and I now know the teachers themsleves were probably still processing it. They did not know answers, and they would not be able to provide answers, so nothing was said.
By the end of the day the news that a building in OKC had been bombed was everywhere. It was all over the TV, it was in every discussion, it was just a part of life now.
I remember watching the footage on TV,watching a man, clothes bloody and mangled climbing down a ladder to safety, pictures of children flashed across the screen as there was a daycare center in the building and those tiny, fresh, innocent lives were taken.
Then, as an 11 year old it didn't seem fair. Now as a mother it seems unfathomable.
Many years have passed since that day in April and instead of it feeling like that day was long ago, I now feel as if that day is more real than ever.
As a child it seemed awful, it seemed horrible, it seemed scary. But now, as a mother, as a wife, as a person who has a desire to grow old and raise a family in this world it seems unfathomable. It seems scary. It seems hopeless.
I live close enough now that I often drive past the site of where the OKC bombing took place. Which has now become a memorial to that moment in time. Appropriately marked with empty chairs for each person who passed. Each person who was taken from their life, their routine, from all they had worked towards, or all they had ahead of them.
And each time I drive by I cry. Tears for lives that were lost. Tears for those that remained here but were forever changed. Tears of fear and tears for the future.
Yes years have gone by since that attack, but as I've gotten older the magnitude of it all sets in a little more. What was once just snapshots of children on a TV I now see each one of them as someone's child.
And tragedy seems to strike again and again. Now we don't even have to turn on the news to be bombarded with news and pictures of tragedy. We are sent alerts to our phone, we are involved in constant daily conversations about it through social media, we can't escape it.
Tragedy has always surrounded us. From the beginning of time. Whether it was when you were a 5th grader at school trying to figure out what was happening or a mother who wants nothing more than to put her child under wing and never let go, it is here, both near and far.
I think fear is the natural instant emotion. What is going on? How do we handle this? How can we go on in this world?
And as quickly as the questions come, so do my answers. Hope, faith, trust. This world is not my home, it is not mine to figure out. I cannot answer all the questions so why bother trying? Instead I turn and look to The Answer.
This world is hopeless but I have Hope. This world is scary, but I trust a God that knows the future. And while to some that may seem crazy, I have a relationship with my Lord that goes beyond crazy. A relationship based on faith and hope and trust.
As the anniversary of the OKC bombing approaches I remember. I remember hearing the stories, seeing the faces, driving past the memorial and crying tears. But I also remember who I look to. Who I put my trust in, and who holds the answers.
So when fear comes, because it does, I will choose to look to Him, The Answer.