Ken and Barbie. That was the running joke. She was Barbara. I was Kenneth. But we each went by those nicknames. She was very good friends with my wife. And we enjoyed each other’s company.
But today she was distressed. She could not find her parents. I did not know them well. I remember house sitting for them once and they made the cake for our wedding. But Barbie could not reach them by phone. This was before silver alerts. No one knew where to look. Her parents talked to Barbie almost every day. Something was wrong.
A few days earlier, I was in the basement of the Oklahoma County child welfare offices. I was attending a committee meeting whose purpose was to develop best practices for how to conduct committee meetings. I kid you not.
I left some notes on my desk upstairs and was asked to retrieve them and to also pick up some refreshments. So I went to the bank of elevators and chose my floor.
When the elevator doors opened it was like a scene from a sci-fi novel. No one was around. The entire floor appeared to be empty. Strange for a Wednesday morning.
I searched and called out until someone came running by. They told me the building had been evacuated by order of the governor.
They forgot to tell the committee on committees.
April 19, 1995
I went down immediately to report the news to my fellow committee members.
“We have to leave the building right away. Someone bombed a building downtown.”
I drove home with clear view of a pillar of smoke coming from the downtown area. The scene was surreal.
Once I was home the news began to slowly sink in. I knew of the Murrah Building. I drove by it weekly on my way to church, next door.
Our church, we later discovered, was being used as a morgue.
And a few days later, my friend Barbie was looking for her parents.
She went to their home in Yukon, found it empty, the only clue to their whereabouts was an opened letter from the Social Security Admininstration with instructions to go to their office, in the Murrah Building, for some unknown purpose.
They were later found in a destroyed parking structure across the street from ground zero.
1995 was a bad year.
Earlier that year I discovered I had a fertility problem. My wife and I were unable to conceive. I had corrective surgery and was still going through tests to determine its success.
Other setbacks occurred that year. Some I will discuss in future posts.
A career change.
I ate a lot that year. I gained a lot. Several health problems began to emerge for the first time in my life.
I was only 26 years old.
But as bad as 1995 was, from its ashes came the best fruits.
Later that year, our associate pastor decided to leave our church and start a new little church called “Life Church.”
Three years later my wife and I applied for adoption.
The year after that, a little girl was born, chosen from birth for adoption. My eldest.
We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 NIV
You may be having the worst year of your life. I was at the beginning of this year. But out of that darkness came wonderful life changes. And this may very well be my best year yet.
Never give up!