A lot was special about the Friends’ meeting this past week. First, we had almost record attendance, as only two of our active members were absent. Second, we didn’t have to cook! Well, one of us did. Host Carol prepared the entire meal for us, featuring her wonderful chicken divan, which I think should be called chicken divine. She said it was her way of saying “thank you” for the support she received last fall in the loss of her husband. Third, we met on Tuesday rather than Monday night, since danger and uncertainty churned across much of Oklahoma on Monday. Relief and thankfulness prevailed at this meeting, and there was a special joy in realizing we were all alive and able to gather. But, in true Friends’ spirit, there were also sadness and sympathy for our neighbors in Moore—fellow Okies who were picking through the ruins of demolished homes and nursing the raw emotional wounds of losing precious loved ones. For Faye, one of our members, the tragedy touched very close to home. Her son and his wife lost their house and belongings.
Our reading selection for this month was The Lost Wife by Alyson Richman. As with most Terezin with its inhuman conditions. But she also shows the intrepid hearts and souls of some of its occupants, particularly those who chose to fight the Nazis the only way they knew how—with their art. In juxtaposing the worst and best of humanity, she weaves a tale that is at once heartbreaking and uplifting.
I felt this novel was particularly appropriate for the Friends this month. If ever people need to be reminded of the strength and resiliency of the human spirit, it is in times of heartache and disaster. The Lost Wife answers the call. Her female protagonist Lenka, offers valuable insight for surviving tragedy: “...not to look back, but to focus on each new day.” As evidenced by the photos below, Oklahomans excel at that.
|Devastation, Moore, Oklahoma May 23, 2013
|Focusing on a new day...worn by woman helping her sister
and brother-in-law salvage their belongings
|Rising from the rubble