I’ve been learning a lot about tragedy, trauma, and sorrow over these past few months. Until this past Christmas I had lived a pretty cushy life. Bad things didn’t really happen to me, so I was never forced to learn the lessons I am learning now. I’m learning how to cope, how to release control, how to lean on others. But I’ve learned another, potentially more important lesson as well. Life sometimes hands us great tragedy and sorrow, but from these situations we can find great joy and triumph.
I haven’t really found that joy and triumph from the tragedy of my broken engagement–yet. I have faith that will come in due time. However, I have started to find joy in the tragedy of the fire in my high school. No, I am not happy that the school is destroyed and my family and friends now have to attend classes in different buildings all over town. But it is definitely a joyous thing to watch the support that has been rallied for the community of Trinity High School.
There are a few glaring examples of that support. Today, the school where I teach (which is located 300 miles away on the other side of the state) is having a “Non-Uni for Unity” day. The students usually have to wear school uniforms, but today they can wear jeans and T-shirts with a minimum $1 free will offering. All proceeds will go directly to the Trinity Fire relief fund (http://www.dickinsoncatholicschools.com/development.cfm?subpage=1833119). When I walked by the table at 7:30 there was already a large pile of money. It was obvious that many students are contributing more than the $1 minimum.
Rockin’ my Non-Uni sticker
Another great example of support comes from the Dickinson Public Schools. Students from Trinity started classes at 3 DPS buildings yesterday. The following are all pictures that were shared on Facebook:
I had to smile when I saw these pictures. Dickinson Catholic Schools and Public Schools haven’t always had the closest relationship, but they were willing to put aside any differences to help out a neighbor in need. As Bishop Kagan said, “(DPS) set a standard of charity and cooperation.”
These are just two examples of the amazing outpouring of support that I’ve witnessed. I know the Catholic school in Minot, ND is also doing a non-uniform day to help raise money. Microsoft has donated over 100 flash drives since students do not have folders on the servers at their new schools. A school in Gwinner, ND donated 30 backpacks filled with school supplies for the students. The list goes on and on and on.
The fire that destroyed my high school was awful. Students, staff, alumni, family, and friends are still struggling to understand why it happened. There are still feelings of hurt, anger, and sadness. But it is already clear that we will triumph. The Titan family will emerge stronger than ever before. The community of Dickinson, North Dakota Catholic schools, and maybe even the whole state of ND will be tighter knit after facing this and supporting each other. Even though I am 300 miles away, it is amazing to watch this support unfold. It is helping me remember that there are more good people than bad in this world, and the good will eventually win out.