How we live

Like many bloggers, I have not written about what still many others have been writing about for the past week: Hurricane Katrina. I haven't been able to settle on an emotion much less a clear thought on the horrific devastation our friends and family in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama continue to face, so I haven't felt quite right putting my jumbled thoughts into written form. Here I am, a week later, and still I have no clear thoughts and no steady emotion. Yet I have to write about it. It is a part of me, and all of us.

From moment to moment, I go from sadness to rage to disbelief. I started a post in a moment of absolute rage at the unacceptable lack of response by the federal government in the immediate days following the hurricane (and the unacceptable preparedness leading up to what they knew was coming, for that matter). Rage at how our government cuts funding for vital services and maintenance needed in our poorest areas, sends troops into an unnecessary war based on lies and greed so our resources -troops and equipment- are not readily available when we need them for, say, a state of emergency, complete rage at the lack of common decency and caring and SOUL of this administration. What kind of president plays golf when a 5 hurricane is hitting land?!! What kind of secretary of state goes shoe shopping at an ultra expensive boutique when chaos and famine erupts from the largest natural disaster this country has seen? As angry as I am, it is the utter shock of it all that I feel the most. I can't watch the news, not for a full minute. I honestly have a hard time even talking about it without crying. I can't believe it. The pictures rip into my heart and I want to reach into the screen and hold the crying mothers, the babies who will die in the NICUs, the hungry and homeless without hope, even the people who snapped and started scavanging houses for material goods and for food in order to survive. I can't imagine what any of them are going through. All I know is I wish I had enough money to have bought an army of busses to evacuate all of the poor who could not evacuate those cities before the hurricane we knew was coming hit, before those damn levees broke. I wish I had a house big enough to hold every single person who now needs a home, enough medical supplies and doctors to save all of the injured and the ill, and enough money to give to every person who lost their livelihood due to this disaster so they could rebuild their homes and their lives once again.

Many of us farther from the south feel helpless. All I feel like I can do is send a check, which we did, and we will again and again in the coming months. It is wonderful that so many Americans continue to donate to places like the Red Cross and Salvation Army, and that countries like Australia and Japan have come to our aid as well. The largest, most fatal natural disaster this country has seen, and we are here to witness and feel the pain as one. Please don't forget to contribute not only now, but again in the next few months. The victims and the cities destroyed by this hurricane will need assistance for many many more months to come.

Many people I have talked to have said that the hurricane has truly made them rethink their lives, how they live and spend their time. Much like 9/11, this event has forced many Americans to truly value what we have. I see so many of my friends and family and even people I meet while getting my coffee in the morning- we are all changed. We want to spend more time with our loved ones. We want to spend more time giving back to our communities and taking care of our neighbors. We want to spend more time living our lives for us and not for some societal ideal. We want to take care of the earth and ourselves and our families as best we can.

I've been praying for those affected by Hurricane Katrina, who lost homes and loved ones and livelihoods. If you've read my blog you may be surprised by this, but I do pray and I do believe, I just don't believe in church. Another blog, another time. I've also been praying for our country as a whole. May our leaders find their humanity and finally learn to make decisions based on what is right and good and just - not just for them and their friends, but for all of America. May our citizens find the strength to work with local governments to ensure their cities and towns are prepared for natural disasters. May each of us learn to live as best as we can for ourselves and for each other, each and every day.


Betsy said...

Great post - you captured most of the emotions I've been dealing with over the last few days.

There's another initiative that's snowballing to try and help displaced families - maybe you and your readers would be interested in it. I've detailed it (with links) over on my blog at this post - it's a relief clearinghouse for families, started by two mom bloggers.

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