Heart and Soul

Saturday, September 03, 2005

A Flood of Emotions

I am stunned, I am shocked, I am angry, I am frustrated, I am saddened, I am relieved, I am proud, I am grateful, I am prayerful and I am selfish---all in varying degrees, from moment to moment. And all as I watch the unimaginable tragedies of Hurricane Katrina’s aftermath unfold in Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana.

I am stunned by the images of people laying dead in the Super Dome and bodies floating lifelessly along French Quarter Streets.

I am shocked by stories of helpless babies and handicapped elderly wasting away and dying from dehydration.

I am angered by the reports of thievery and rape, and worse, of snipers shooting at rescue helicopters.

I am saddened by the realization that when the flood waters finally recede it will be years before the tortured faces flashing across my television screen will again, if ever, experience normalcy in their lives.

I am frustrated by the incredibly slow moving delivery of aid and assistance, as our government seemingly has failed to do for our own what they have ably done so many times for devastated people and nations around the world.

I am saddened as I watch people rummaging through scattered shards of glass and strips of wood that represented the remains of their homes, searching in vain for scraps of personal possessions.

I am relieved that the people of America jump-started the rescue efforts that our government seemed incapable of undertaking.

I am grateful over and over and over again as I awake in my warm, dry bed, dress from an array of clothing and shoes within my closet, enjoy a bounty of late summer fruits and vegetables with every meal, turn on the tap for water any time I desired, and know that my family and my friends are alive and safe.

I am prayerful each time I see a mother begging for help for her dehydrated child, or people desperately waving from rooftops of their immersed homes, or tears streaming down the cheeks of seasoned police officers as they attempt to describe the flood of death and destruction.

I am proud of the people and corporations in Western New York and across the United States who have given so generously and caringly of money, food, clothing and supplies to help their fellow Americans.

I am selfish as I take comfort in the fact that this incredible tragedy did not directly affect me, my family, my friends, my community, my world.

And I am well aware that no matter how far removed this tragedy may be from my own life, the memories of this past week will unquestionably make a difference in the way I go forward, forever more.
 
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