Every so often, I'll probably stray from the literary purpose of The Creative Spark, which is primarily to help you find the inspiration you need to keep at "it", whatever "it" may be. Today will be one such post.
I participate in a local Star Wars fan club called JediOKC. It is bunch of people and families that enjoy Star Wars and other sci-fi/fantasy media offerings--Ghostbusters, Aliens, Marvel and DC comics. Some of us are just in it to socialize. Some of us have pretty accurate costumes from the films. We meet twice a month for dinner meetings, discuss current interests, and plan for events where we can use these costumes to reach out to the local community. We help with fund-raisers and awareness campaigns, stuff like that. Mostly, we are just a big family.
On Thursday, we had a chance to participate in a very unique event--an elementary school end-of-year party. "Isn't July a little late to be celebrating the end of the school year?" you ask, and yes it is, unless the two schools being represented were wiped out in the tornadoes this past May in Moore, OK.
Held at Journey Church in Norman, OK, there were plenty of things to distract most young minds from the horrors they encountered only two months ago--dozens of inflatable slides and jumpers, snow cones, nachos, music, and of course, Ghostbusters, Jedi Knights and rolling Droids. For six hours, hundreds of families poured into the guarded facililty (to keep media out) as they collected yearbooks, exchanged autographs with friends, and posed for pictures with their classmates and teachers.
The most humble moment for me was when a family approached and asked for a private photo (that's me above using the Force to choke a Baron Ice Girl). Turns out, this was a family that had actually lost a child to the tornado. It was a good thing I was wearing a darkened helmet, because I started to choke up at the thought of the horrible weeks and months these people have just experienced. But guess what? If only for a moment, all the members of that family were smiling. They expressed their gratitude to me for my time, and visited other members of my group, posing and laughing at the festive (and goofy) nature of our costumes.
My take-away was two fold. First, thank heaven for groups and organizations like Journey Church that are willing to do whatever it takes to make events like this happen. There were dozens of volunteers that had dedicated untold hours into organizing this day, and the hard work showed. I am so grateful that they kept these Moore children in their sights even though the news isn't running stories about the tornadoes any more.
And finally, if this family could set aside their sadness, if only for a few minutes, and so recently after such a devastating loss, then there probably isn't much that we all can overcome in our own lives.
What is the worst thing you have ever had to go through?