Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Still Wondering

I wrote the other day about Gustav…I passed along Bishop Jenkins' blogspot address because I was having such a difficult time addressing the deep-seated emotions that I was feeling…still am feeling.

Still, I am wondering, why am I so affected by this hurricane? It certainly isn’t New Orleans. I have been to NOLA once in my life and I was only 15 or so at the time. It doesn’t really have anything to do with New Orleans.

What happened in New Orleans was a tragedy but it was a natural disaster that was compounded by human error. Bay St. Louis and Waveland Mississippi were just little blimps on the radar screen of being newsworthy because the human drama going on in New Orleans was so much more stimulating than a few thousand homes being washed out to sea by the mother of all storm surges known on the Gulf Coast. The ghoulish fascination with death and tragedy…

In the end, all things considered and comparatively speaking, Gustav wasn’t that big of a thing…not when one thinks of Katrina, Rita, Andrew or Camille. It was just a hurricane – the kind that people who live on the coast know is eminent at one time or another.

Obviously it was the human element – watching people crammed into an unprepared Superdome or watching as people cried for help from their rooftops…or the knowing of all the ongoing tragedy that was just too grim for even the 10 o’clock news…so easy to say, “there but for the grace of God” as if those of us sitting safe and sound are so much more in God’s good graces…

Or maybe it was the government audacity…the cockiness…the arrogance of well fed and well heeled white men standing there slapping each other on the back at the great job they were doing…all the while buses parked idle n a lot while the water crept up high enough to make them useless…FEMA trailers sitting empty undelivered on lots in Texas while families camped out in small hotel rooms all over the nation…

Yes, criminals were let loose on the innocents of Houston and Austin and other parts of the world as residents of those cities tried to help in one way or another. Yet, the real criminals sat high on the hog in Washington D.C. and did what they always do – legally take from those who have nothing to satisfy their insatiable greed to have more. Who, after all, decides what is a crime and who are the criminals?

The failings of government help were so complete and so tragic that when Rita stuck the coastline of Texas and did almost as much damage (without the failed levees and the flooding), hardly anyone in the world noticed…except of course the ones directly affected by Rita herself. Thankfully, because of Katrina, people (including the Texas government) paid attention and evacuated on command.

I remember Bay St. Louis six months after Katrina washed over it. A black lacy bra hung from a tree…not that long before someone had probably felt sexy in that piece of clothing…yet as it hung from the branches of the tree, where was the one who wore it? Evacuated…or washed away? Did she live right there on the beach road or did it wash back in the wave from however many miles inland the giant wave surged?

I remember the teacup sitting so strangely intact on the steps leading to nowhere. Once upon a time, a porch and a front door were conveniently at the top of the stairs. My dog walked up the steps and stood there looking expectantly, waiting to see what I wanted him to do. The teacup probably belonged to a house nowhere near where it fell out of the wave. And the litter…pieces of wood and brick that used to be houses. Who could even tell where they once lived? The rubble had no respect for roads and driveways.

With all the emptiness inside of me…the sense of uselessness that I felt wash over me as I watched the predicted path of Gustav. I could only imagine how those people across the coast from Texas to Florida must be feeling as they watched and dreaded and planned for the impossible possibility that just such a short time later one more tragedy could be rushing in on them.

So, obviously, I am being called to do something, don’t you think? Otherwise, why would it matter so much? But what? And how?


merigold said...

You know, I've read your blog for months now, really attempting to understand your point of view despite my strong disagreement with most of your arguments. But I've come to the conclusion that you will never be satisfied with most things in your life. Our government will forever fail to meet your standards of justice and welfare, so maybe you should move to another country. The Christian church, as Christ in His Word has called it to be, will never satisfy your desire to be accepted because that would require compromise of truth. So maybe you should start a fellowship in your new home country with a doctrine formulated by your own opinions of what worship and justice are.
You have the right in every way to broadcast your unsupported and vile opinions and beliefs over the web. But as of today I will no longer subject my mind, and ultimately my heart, to the foolish talk that braises this blog.

Barbi Click said...

"Merigold", I started to reject this comment. It shocked me...I am really amazed that this particular essay pushed your button so hard.
Nice values you have -- you come into my house (aka my blog) and complain as to what I choose to write about. This piece wasn't so much about the wasted money or tragic human error as it was about me attempting to discern what God is calling me to do about it. You are more than welcome to read or to leave -- that is up to you. The invitation is there but it is not one that you must take. You do not hurt my feelings by not reading. In fact, all you have really done is to make yourself look extremely silly.

PseudoPiskie said...

I hope Marigold keeps his or her promise. Nobody needs the poison spread by folks who call themselves "Christian" yet have no understanding of Jesus's message.

Anyhow, Barbi, I keep wondering if you are where you are to be but you haven't recognized that yet. I wonder what you are looking for. God needs us in little ways as well as news-making ways. I pray you find peace. Soon. And I'll keep reading your blog and praying.

Barbi Click said...

Thank you, pseudopiskie, for your words and your prayers. I am always in need and grateful!
You may well be right. I may be where I am to be...I want to DO something...sometimes the only thing we can do is to pray...and write. I know I can do both of these things. So maybe that is what I am to do...pray and keep on writing so that more feathers are ruffled.

Can there every be peace in our hearts as long as little ones are starving to death or being abused or living war torn lives? Is peace possible in an unjust world?

Meanwhile, thank you for reading and thank you for your own blog. I love the "supinated" cat! :-)

David said...

((((((sister barbi)))))))

it takes both guts and grace to wait upon the Holy Spirt- and that's right where you are right now.

please trust the the humanity and honesty of the great grace you've been given, the fruits of which you so generous share in this space; trust that 'Love beyond our wildest imagining' and know that the question or hunger is already halfway to an answer.

merigold, you make me sader than sad- but i'll pray for you.

barbi & debbi hugs from your brother in Christ Jesus


Barbi Click said...

David, you are such a healer. Thank you for your note.
Hugs returned from Debbie and me.
As you are a blessing, may you be blessed.
Thank you and much love
gratefully your sister in Christ

David said...

sweet sister Barbi
you have absolutely nothing to thank me for
i find it interesting though the juxtaposition between the openess of your profoundly human post and merigold's judgemental pronouncement.
it is my experience and understanding that Christ Jesus is calling us into lived lives- faith in the sacrament of the lives we have been given, and that it is indeed in the reality of process where the Holy Spirit awaits us.
sad,sad, merigold reminds me of too many lives who out of personal fear they refuse to own, turn their faith either into bomb shelters where they hide or weapons which they use on others.
you, sweet sister, unfailingly turn up for the life you've been given- leaving both your heart and mind open to the Christ in others and the working of the Holy Spirit in the life that's been given you
and it's my great joy to witness to all of the above.
so thank-YOU barbi, for th living gift you are to our Church.... oh, and fierce fraternal hugs to you and Debbi