Bonnie Bing: Tragedy a chance to stop and smell the storm-ravaged roses

05/26/2013 9:02 AM

05/29/2013 8:02 PM

Sometimes a person has to give herself a good talking to. I end up doing this frequently and usually out loud. Yes, it is technically talking aloud to one’s self, but it is a good thing, not deranged as some might think.

This time it started when, with broom in hand, I forced myself to face the mess and clean up the flowers that were pummeled in the recent storm. I had the prettiest flowers I’ve had in a long time, especially this early in the season. But Mother Nature got her underwear in a twist so the wind blew and the hail came and that was that.

Then it came to me. “Oh for Pete’s sake, think it over.” The fact I lost a lot of plants is nothing, absolutely nothing, considering the losses people are facing in Moore, Okla.

How a few minutes can change so many lives is truly astounding. Some of the students and teachers started the day going about their school work and jobs, no doubt excited about the end of the school year, never expecting it was the end of their lives that was near.

I was at White Elementary in south Wichita the day after the Oklahoma tornado. Every Tuesday this school year I’ve gone there to have lunch with seven fifth-grade girls.

They quickly became very special little buddies to me. On our last day I looked at those little faces and couldn’t imagine them and the rest of the students in their classes being caught in such devastating circumstances. It’s been a year of interesting conversation with this group. We’ve talked about table manners, fashion choices, the problem of bullying, how to get along with siblings, the loss of their beloved school counselor, their highs, their lows, and I’ve answered lots and lots of questions.

Many times a question would start out, “Miss Bonnie, what do you think about ,” and I was usually able to come up with an answer. But when a very insightful girl in the group asked, “Why do bad things like a tornado hitting a school have to happen?” I knew she wasn’t asking for a meteorological explanation. I told her I simply didn’t know.

But I do know hearing of a tragedy is an opportunity to reflect on how fortunate we are that we weren’t personally affected. And it’s a time to find a way to assist those who need our help.

“It is not a time to get upset and pout and whine about a ruined flower garden.” That’s what I said loudly to myself as I put the broom away.

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