Sunday, September 04, 2005
The Last Days?
"Wade In the water... God is gonna trouble the water"-American Black Spiritual
I just finished watching my first solid few hours of hurricane coverage and I'm feeling pretty low. I really tried my hardest to keep things upbeat and optimistic, but after immersing myself in the horror that is New Orleans via the careful coverage by CNN I'm realizing the magnitude of the situation. I say careful coverage because, though the images we're seeing are abominable, I know there is worse not being shown. Despite our facination with slasher flicks and monster movies America has a weak stomach. She doesn't like to be shown the gritty reality of... well... reality. Even reality television isn't even real. The images of total devastation are too much for the average person to take. I know I can't. I'm given hope by the amazing rescues or and stories like the one of the pregnant woman who swam 30 minutes, while having contractions to get help for her asthmatic son. Though she thought her son was lost, the entire family was reunited in Houston. On the other hand I see makeshift graves on street corners and people too much in shock to mourn their dead. CNN has been broadcasting the press conference with the Jefferson Parish president who broke down in tears.
"The guy who runs this building I'm in, emergency management, he's responsible for everything. His mother was trapped in St. Bernard nursing home and every day she called him and said, "Are you coming, son? Is somebody coming?" And he said, "Yeah, Mama, somebody's coming to get you. Somebody's coming to get you on Tuesday. Somebody's coming to get you on Wednesday. Somebody's coming to get you on Thursday. Somebody's coming to get you on Friday." And she drowned Friday night. She drowned Friday night. Nobody's coming to get us. Nobody's coming to get us. The secretary has promised. Everybody's promised. They've had press conferences. I'm sick of the press conferences. For God sakes, shut up and send us somebody."
I echo his sentiments. I sit at home and I watch these images flash across the scene and feel like I'm sharing some of this devastation, but whatever I'm feeling is nothing compared to what those in the midst must be feeling. I've been to New Orleans. I know how hot it can get. It's downright unbearable. There was air conditioning when I was there. There is none now. I've smelled the stench of decaying animals on the roadside. There are people's family members rotting on the streets of New Orleans. I can't even begin to imagine the sickening aroma that is pervading the air at this moment. The indignity and pain of knowing that those might be your relatives, perhaps not rotting on the street, but decaying in the attics they were trapped in while trying to escape the rising water. The putrid water in the street that is breeding mosquitos that will carry more death far from the city limits of those areas hardest hit. No one has even mentioned the water moccasins and alligators, whose habitats have been extended far beyond the bogs and swamps they normally inhabit.... more death.
Katrina has moved on, but the real horror is just beginning. This is not over. When the streets of New Orleans are drained and the rebuilding process has begun, recovery will continue for years. Entire families are lost. Some will never be found. What an awful sense of uncertainty, not knowing the whereabouts of your loved ones. There are people wading through the streets in shock, unable to fathom what has happened. Those people will continue to wander and wonder why. No answer will ever come. In her act, Adele Givens talks about her grandmother, who always said, "We livin in our last days." She talks about how wrong it was for granny to terrorize a six year old with that statement, but her grandma was right. We are living in our last days, not only because Jesus is soon to come, but because as soon as we're born, we begin the process of dying. All flesh must pass the same way. I'm sure many of those caught in Katrina felt they were in their last moments. Many of them were. I hope that they had a song, prayer or scripture to comfort them. I hope they had a chance to make peace with their demons. I have the same hope for those who survived. They will need some peace of soul and mind to begin the healing.
Posted by Rodney ::
12:55 PM ::
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