September 2, 2005

Drawn in...

I can’t believe we have not yet received information overload on New Orleans and the recovery effort there. We have had the television on to CNN and FOX news channels, almost constantly here, and I am held riveted to it. The news stations are doing a really good job of making this catastrophe personal….all the individuals they interview, the pictures of people walking around looking desperately for their loved ones, pictures of the squalor they were rescued from. The media is our link to the disaster….it compels us to donate, to pray, to feel for these people. The same thing happened when 9/11 and the tsunami in India were reported on. Trying to describe how catastrophic this is to my kids this morning as we had our devotions before starting schoolwork, I got this huge lump in my throat and tears in my eyes, having a hard time describing it to them out loud somehow made it more real to me.

Before, when we’ve heard about hurricanes that had hit Florida or the east coast or gulf states, it was just a community or just along the shoreline that was destroyed. (I hate to say ‘just’ when it represents people’s lives, but it is necessary to make a point.) This time it wiped out a whole city, more than a million people lost everything…think about that… everything …..and more than one city, it devastated communities all along the coast and inland too. I emailed a friend of mine who lives in Hattiesburg, MS, wondering if they had received damage and if they were alright. I finally heard from her this morning, September 2. She said even though they are an hour north of New Orleans, they have 20-30 thousand dollars worth of damages on their home and everyone around there is in the same shape. She is really grateful to have her family and friends safe, as well as a home and some things left. And today their electric power came back on. I got the impression from her brief report, and because I know her heart, that she was way more concerned about the people in New Orleans, Gulf Port and Biloxi who had lost everything and so many who had lost loved ones than she was about having a damaged house.

Times like these put a more realistic perspective on life for us. I have been feeling pangs of guilt and selfishness when I pour a glass of clean water for myself, take a shower or watch television in comfort. I look at my family and have them all home with me tonight, even my college daughter is home for the long weekend. We really do have so much….so much.

Every day is a bank account
And time is our currency
So no one's rich, nobody's poor
We get twenty-four hours each
So how are you gonna spend
Will you invest or squander
Try to get ahead
Or help someone who's under

Teach us to count the days
Teach us to make the days count
Lead us in better ways
Somehow our souls forgot
Life means so much
Life means so much
Life means so much

Every day is a gift you've been given,
Make the most of the time every minute you're living

~Chris Rice, Life Means So Much~

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