Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Remembering 4/17/13: West Fertilizer Plant Explosion

{I'm late posting this, but I did write it on the 17th. We were away on our trip, and I didn't have the internet access I'd hoped for.} 
I’ve been thinking a lot in the last few weeks about what to say on this day. I have nothing more profound to say than anyone else on this day that we remember the loss and suffering that occurred one year ago. There are thousands of stories of those from our small town in Texas that was forever changed on 4/17/13, and each one is an important piece to the whole pie. Today, I hope to reflect on all the good that came from that fateful day. I remember with great admiration and gratitude for those that sacrificed their lives so that their neighbors, family, and friends would go on to live. I’ve read many posts people have written on Facebook the last few days, and one that stands out to me the most is about sacrifice. Sacrifice. She asks that we think about the true meaning of sacrifice, and if you would be willing to sacrifice your life for someone else, perhaps even a stranger's. These brave people did just that, and I hope they are shining down from Heaven, knowing that their lives were not lost in vain. So many wonderful things have happened as a result of that day. I know it’s sometimes hard to remember there is always something good as a result of something bad, and sometimes it takes years to figure out what that good is. For those people, I pray that someday God fulfills that goodness in their hearts. For me, the good that came from the West Fertilizer Plant Explosion is the reminder of just how great people truly are and what it means to live
{Photo taken 4/18/13, one day after the explosion. Instagram title "Sunshine after the rain."
Gussied up with the Rhonna Designs App}

In the aftermath of the events of the explosion, people offered their help in waves! It was truly remarkable and humbling that people all over the world offered their prayers, donated {monetarily, goods, and their time}, and their love. I truly never expected to see my hometown on the world news, but people everywhere cared about others. I can’t even put into words the gratitude I have for each and every person who offered anything they could. I believe, with those prayers, it has given the people of West the strength to move forward and “Rise Up,” as we’ve been hearing. I would love to elaborate more on that, but I truly don’t have the words. Just know if you offered your prayers, donations, time, and more, it is TRULY appreciated! On that day and the days since, we have all been reminded just how wonderful people truly are! Everywhere you go, everywhere you look, there are truly good and wonderful people! All of you are what gave the town of West and those affected the will to move forward & live.
In December 2008, my mom, aunts, cousin, & I went on a cruise out of Galveston, Texas. We were there a mere 3 months after Hurricane Ike hit the town hard. Our cruise departure was delayed a bit, so we took sometime driving around. On our drive I saw things I will never forget, a HUGE statue with a waterline way, way above my head, boats randomly on the side of the roads, and ravaged homes cheerfully adorned with Christmas lights and decorations. I remember the exact words I said, “How do these people move forward?” Now, I know just how. It’s just what you do. Life moves on. It is drastically changed in an instant, but in that instant the world never stops turning. Life keeps going, the world keeps moving. You have no choice but to move with it. I am proud that that is exactly what West, Texas and everyone affected by the events of April 17th did. Immediately, people began helping clean up, feeding those who couldn’t get home, clothing those who left their homes with nothing, and offering kindness & prayers. What happened after 4/17 has taught me that no matter what you must go on living, and that to me is what life truly is about, continuing on when the unthinkable happens, moving forward to bigger and better things, giving thanks to God, and making great use of every single day you have on this Earth.
Since April 17, 2013, numerous buildings have been torn down, hundreds of homes have been repaired or rebuilt {including my parents’ home, for which I am truly, truly grateful}, and the town of West is rising up & moving forward, but friends, I ask that you continue to pray for those who still need help getting back home, for those who are still suffering the unimagineable loss of their loved ones, and for everyone who will be remembering this day. Thank you for all you have done to make this year a little easier. God Bless You.

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