Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Hearts Laid Bare

It's 6:00 in the morning. I just woke up. With a start. I've had a nightmare. I suppose there are those thinking that's not such a big deal, but I haven't had a nightmare, at least not that I can remember, since before I became a Christian. That was in 1971.

Another benefit of salvation rarely talked about.

I used to have nightmares back then fairly often about being chased by the devil or something of that theme. This one was about getting a flat in a brand new tire.

Not much of a nightmare, I know, but if you have nightmares you know once you awake they're usually not very scary topics.

Anyway, as I lay there fully awake, my mind was racing with disconnected thoughts unrelated to flat tires. And then it suddenly occurred to me that I have been wrong.

I have been writing as of late about the politicising of the disaster of Hurricane Katrina. While it is still wrong to politicise it, by chastising those who do, I have myself politicised it to some degree. My holier-than-thou attitude has caused division between me and a man who I have never met, yet I consider him a very good friend. Someone on another blog, where I left a comment, called me a bigot. Some one else used the term, "people like you", referring to me.

My heart has overridden my mind.

I am sorry, sorry, sorry.
.
ER, Here is a peace offering. It is a picture of my pug, Beast.

Hurricane Katrina has devastated an entire area of the country. Thousands of people may be dead already. Hundreds more will eventually die as a direct result of this storm. Well over a million people have been displaced. It will be months before they will be able to go back home and when they do, to what will they be going back home? They have lost everything. Everything they have worked their whole lives to accumulate. Things you can't place a monetary value on. Things you can.

Everything.

It's not just New Orleans. It is much of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama, too.

Blogger friend, Dana, lives (lived) in Slidell, Louisiana. And her last post before the storm made landfall indicated she and her family were going to stay in their home and ride it out, The first day after the hurricane hit, a radio station I was listening to reported that all of Slidell was under water, and my heart went out to her. And my prayers.

Here is some good news:

Dana has returned and had this to say: "I guess that I should start by saying that my immediate family is safe and accounted for." She says her home has been damaged but thankfully, it was not completely destroyed.

She doesn't mention if she is still there. The news reports say everyone in New Orleans must evacuate because the toxic waters will kill them. I don't know if Slidell is included in the evacuation or not. One gets the impression she feels she is just lucky to be alive. Or blessed. I am thankful she is alive, too.

I cannot even imagine the pain and desperation and hopelessness the people of those storm ravaged areas must feel. I know Dana must feel the same as they do, but she hasn't said anything about that, only that her immediate family is safe, and she worries about other family members that she hasn't heard from. Keep her and her family in your prayers.

I guess what I have been trying to say all through this rambling, is that this disaster has laid our hearts bare to the world, and to ourselves, and to each other.

At least it has to mine.

I don't want to politicise this thing, and yet, I know that in the coming weeks, as we receive more information and misinformation, I won't be able to resist commenting on it, and offering my humble opinion. It is what I do and I am very opinionated. And I have passion. And compassion.

Forgive me in retrospect and in advance.

Peace and grace be unto you all.

9 comments:

Etchen said...

It is your opinion that brings "people like me" to your blog. Whether I always agree with it or not, it's always well thought out and you defend it extremely well. I don't knwo you, but I have never gotten the sense that you are a bigot.
Oh, your pug, Beast is so cute, he could mend any wound and melt any heart.

Erudite Redneck said...

Beast is one handsome critter.

Mark: Peace, peace. When the country gets sucker-punched, whether by the likes of 9/11 or the likes of Katrina, it -- meaning "We" -- all do what people do when they get sucker-punched: We stagger and we blindly lash out.

You and I, bud, aren't the only ones. And as tempers flare, we will probably do so again. That's human.

I also think that Katrina is causing people to react in a way that returns them to their normal inclinations -- and my honest prayer, among many prayers, is that Katrina helps us all clarify what is important to us, knowing that that means different things to different people, considering that, in my experience, everyone was confused after 9/11 for a long time, and we, as a people have been dealing with something like PTSD ever since. At least I have. If other readers haven't, be thankful: Some of us have been crazy for going on four years. Some of us now have clarity.

I mean, if you were conservative before but maybe doubting it, today you've probably reaffirmed your political orientation. And if you tended liberal before, but were adrift because of the state of the country and the world in general, because of the way your heart gets torn out watching Iraq, because of the way your heart has been competing with your head to the point where you are constantly, sometimes literally, dizzy, well, today, you probably have reaffirmed your liberal political orientation.

That's partly, I think, why the rhetoric has been so extremes on all sides.

We will all quit staggering, and when we do, we will all work better together -- I say "better" because I think we all HAVE been working together, even as we've been cussing one another -- despite our differences.

--ER

Mark said...

Well said, my friend, well said.

Mark said...

Etchen, Welcome back. Now start blogging again!

The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

I see nothing wrong with you commenting on the politicizing. You're basically responding to the political mudslinging that exists independant from you, rather than ignoring it.

I just thought of this, right now too, and maybe it's because of your post: I'm not sure that "politicizing" is a good word to use in regards to the Hurricane. To me, that word implies that people are opinionating solely for political ground. I think some are. When I read Maureen Dowd's comments, it's hard not to feel like this is just another event in which to bash Bush.

But with that said, I think it's more ideologically driven than politically driven. I don't think most of those laying blame on government feel they are doing it because Republicans are in power; I don't think most are sitting there, thinking, "Aha...an opportunity to blame this on Bush and Karl Rove!". We've all been affected by the loss and the pain suffered by our fellow citizens. And the lashing out at government, much of it from the left, but Republicans are pointing fingers back as well, is just a way to express the anger, hurt, and outrage that so many lost their lives....and all of us felt so helpless, we want to know, "Is there anything we could have done better?"

It's compassion for the victims that drives liberals to see things the way they do, and for conservatives to see things in another light.

I think our perception (and thus the level of our indignation and outrage) is shaped much by the images and opinions being fed to us by reporters. I was watching NBC news, including Dateline that day of the Hurricane relief concert, and one on-site reporter interjected her opinion into her news-reporting, that is factually off-based, regarding the National Guard. Yet if I only heard her give it, I'd have accepted it, verbatim, as fact and truth, because she presented it as such. And it's errors like that, which need to be challenged...and subsequently, the politicizing.
I don't think this country is in danger of not standing together. Liberals and conservatives are all doing what they can to help the victims....our fellow Americans.

The Liberal Lie The Conservative Truth said...

Mark,
Remember the left made Katrina political when they chose to blame the President for the devistation. RFK, Jr even tried to blame him for the storm itself! The victims are what is important. The feds responded in their normal 96 hour time frame after the storm passes. Local authorities caused the confusion which ultimatly resulted in hundreds of fatalities! God bless the survivors and those especially who have lost family, friends and everything!

Ken Taylor

Mary said...

Mark,

First, let me say that Beast is adorable.

Second, you are a lucky man to have been free of nightmares since 1971. You must be doing something right. I've had more nightmares in the last 24 hours than you've had in 34 years.

Thank God Dana and her immediate family survived. I wish her family the best.

I must say the events of last week, all the destruction and then all the hate and blame, was overwhelming.

I know I need some time to regroup. What caught me off guard was the way some lashed out to score politically.

To suggest that the President of the U.S. allowed people to suffer, and in some cases die, on the basis of their race tore me up. I know that pushed me over the edge.

There will time to sort everything out, as Bush has said.

Now, the focus should be on caring for the victims. The ugly political sniping should be put aside.

The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

Mary, please don't get worked up over the "really out there" kind of comments, like the race card. I think those kind of remarks are the kind that causes the Democratic Party to lose political points.

LadyMcBeath said...

Mark,
I found your blog from your comments on Lores' blog. That picture of the flooded busses is the saddest image of the whole situation, to me. It respresents thousands of people who could have been taken out of the city before the hurricane struck but weren't because the mayor is an idiot. What kind of irresponsible moron mayor or governor declares an evacuation and doesn't take into account the hospitals? The homeless? The poor? It absolutely boggles my mind that the hospitals were not evacuated! How dare that mayor blame others for what has happened to that city. It's his fault for not getting the people out early enough. As far as I'm concerned the first lesson to be learned from the aftermath of Katrina is be very careful whom you vote for! A pretty campaign does not mean you are getting a capable leader. God bless you Mark, and thanks for the picture of Beast. My first laugh today!