Reaching Through the Wreckage
Hurricane Katrina has caused perhaps the greatest sudden loss of life worldwide since the recent tsunami. It's so hard to believe that such horrible things could happen again - Katrina is the worst disaster on American soil since September 11, 2001 and the largest displacement of Americans since the Dust Bowl
migrations in the 1930’s. We are all struggling to cope with the shock and anguish, trying to make sense of this trauma. And we are not alone in our shock and grief, in America, in Indonesia, anywhere in the wake of the ocean's wrath.
In the USA, Florida, Alabama, Louisiana and the Mississippi Gulf Coast have been battered and shattered by nature running wild. Along the coastline, thousands of homes have been flattened by the winds or swallowed up by the sea. Entire towns are reduced to rubble and sewage. Some of these towns may be reclaimed and rebuilt but many will sink into the marshlands and the memories of those who’ve lost so very much. Katrina and the tsunami are kin as close as we all are, in the horror and the agony of their ravage and waste.
Now, hurricane Ophelia seems to be biding its time offshore, as if debating whether to strike or settle down. (Update: Ophelia is now heading for the Carolinas, aiming at North Carolina’s south coast and South Carolina’s north coast. Residents are evacuating.)
New Orleans, Louisiana is celebrated world-wide as the birthplace of the blues and jazz music. It is renowned for its cuisine, architecture, friendly folks and culture. This unique city has always attracted visitors from around the world. Now, it's almost wiped off the map and all the lives lost will probably never be accurately counted. With Katrina, the tsunami and as with the twin towers in New York, the victims of these tragedies are international.
One of the kindest, most courageous people I've ever known is Sharon Sanders, a warm and wise Lupus NewsLog Thrivers
contributor and LWLupus co-moderator. As I’ve written in A Tribute to True Soulmates
her husband George died recently, at home with her, in Louisiana. We’re very grateful that Sharon is not among those lost or in the wreckage.
Our friend Kris Kutz is also a contributor to Lupus NewsLog Thrivers
and one of the brightest lights in Alabama. We are fortunate that she and other friends who may have been in harm's way are safe. Linda, our long and loyal ally, publisher of The Lupus Chronicle
lives in Florida and I hope to hear from her soon.
one of the architects of LNL, lives in Texas and I pray she is safe and well. Our friend and fellow LWLupus member Shine Rivai, her husband Yoel and their baby boy Mika (born on the fourth of July) live in Indonesia. I am little Mika’s true though honorary aunt and it worries my heart that I haven't heard from them since the tsunami.
Our challenge in any catastrophe is not to assign blame – that’s always easy and ain't it a shame – but to accept responsibility for what must be done and do our part. In the 20th century, Mahatma (“Great Soul”) Mohandas Gandhi said, “The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would suffice to solve many of the world’s problems.” In this 21st century, mothers, fathers and their children still die not just during but in the aftermath of hurricanes, floods, famines, fires, tornados, earthquakes and wars. On this planet of plenty, millions of children slowly starve to death every year, day by day. Can we even imagine what that must feel like - how it is to be abandoned by the world?
For all our techology, life still comes down to individuals reaching out to help others, one person recognizing and connecting to the precious life of another. By ourselves alone, we cannot save the entire world but those of us who care enough to try can comfort, change and even save lives.
In the opinion of philosopher/writer Luciano de Crescenzo, "We are, each of us, angels with one wing and we can only fly by embracing one another." According to all major religions, God, and the highest nature of humanity, is love. Our ability to recognize, feel and return such love can unify us and help us all to heal.