Deep In The Heart Of Texas

Saturday, April 20, 2013


For a lot of Americans, it's been a horrible week.  The worst possible, unimaginable things have forever changed lives.  In a week marked by anniversaries of major tragedies, no one ever expected to add more to that list.  The world watched and prayed and cried for Boston on Monday, unaware of the real-life action movie that was to come at the end of the week.  I had bagels with Boston friends yesterday morning and then dinner with a first responder from that finish line medical tent.  He walked away, but will live that day over and over again for a very long time.  

New York is on edge.  People are just a little more anxious than normal.  (And that's saying a lot, since this is the most anxiety-driven city in the world.)  Reports of suspicious packages and out-of-the-ordinary behavior spiked since Monday.  I put my crisis management expertise to good use Thursday night when the dreaded emergency alert interrupted my glued-to-the-news evening: "Columbia University has reported a bomb threat at 116th street and Broadway.  All recipients are to shelter in place until the all clear is given by the NYPD."  Which, by the way, is the exact location of my front door.  Now, please do not panic.  Everything was and is fine.  People are just hyper-vigilant, which is good.  It's exactly what we want them to do.  A woman accidentally left her bag near the Columbia gates, prompting the entire university to come to a halt for an hour or so.  Even though I could write a dissertation on how poorly that incident was handled, that's not the point.  

Just that kind of week.  

So here's the most unpopular thing that's been said all week.  Boston was horrible, no question.  But it is overshadowing an equally devastating tragedy.  West, Texas (the town, not to be confused with region of West Texas) was literally leveled Wednesday evening.  While the rest of the world watched in disbelief as the event in Boston unfolded, a tiny little map dot town just a few miles north of my home faced a reality even more unthinkable.  At last count, 14 people lost their lives, with over 200 injured and a number of others still missing.  Homes, schools, and businesses are just gone.  And beyond that little region of Central Texas (and the Baylor green and gold flung afar), not many people seem to remember.  Whatever your politics might be, this was a classy way to wrap up the news conference focused on the Boston developments...  


"Finally, let me say that even as so much attention has been focused on the tragic events in Boston, understandably, we've also seen a tight-knit community in Texas devastated by a terrible explosion.  And I want them to know that they are not forgotten.  Our thoughts, our prayers are with the people of West, Texas, where so many good people lost their lives; some lost their homes; many are injured; many are still missing.  I've talked to Governor Perry and Mayor Muska and I've pledged that the people of West will have the resources that they need to recover and rebuild.  And I want everybody in Texas to know that we will follow through with those commitments.  All in all, this has been a tough week.  But we've seen the character of our country once more." (President Obama)

I'm so grateful to be a member of the Baylor community.  So proud of the university and students for turning the Diadeloso spring carnival tradition into DiaDelWest, with hundreds of volunteers and thousands of dollars donated.  Proud of the random Boston surgeon who, understanding the week more than anyone else could, ordered pizzas for doctors at Waco's Hillcrest Hospital.  For all the bad in the world, people are good.  From what I understand, West is overwhelmed with donated items right now and just needs money for long-term relief (through Red Cross or Baylor Gives).  You can also download Songs for West, an album of Baylor alums and friends like David Crowder and Robbie Seay...100% of proceeds go to the Baylor University West Relief Fund.  And pray.  They need prayers.  

I've talked to a lot of New York friends this week who only see the fear and hopelessness in the world.  It's an easy opinion for sure.  But why live in hopelessness when hope outshines fear?  

"Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace." (2 Corinthians 4:16)

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