Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Now what?

I've been talking with my kids about the hurricane, but how do I approach it now that there are kids in my classroom who lived through it themselves?

I've been taking prayer requests at the beginning of each class, but how do I respond when even one of the students points out that her classmate's intentions are more back-yard with none for "the people of New Orleans"?

I've been saying how I'm curious to see how this all plays out. Sure, it's in the forefront of our minds ... but that's right now. What happens a week from now, a month from now, a year from now? These people still won't have their homes, their neighborhoods, their "before" -- will we care? Will we even notice?

Yeah, sure, they're getting $2000 debit cards, and I'm definitely not saying that those won't help, but ... rebuilding a life on $2000? How long can we help? More importantly, how long will we help?

I'd like to think that the magnitude of this past 10 days will have an impact on our society, lead us to reconsider what's really important, stretch us outside ourselves to our literal neighbor who just moved in ... but I'm just not sure.

We complain about the speed and/or delay of the response. Will we be aware enough to complain about the length/brevity of the response?

How long does it take to rebuild a life? A thousand lives? A million lives?

And can we -- as a multi-tasking, "on to the next thing," short-attention-span, soundbite society -- stick with it long enough to make that happen?

But, as I taught my Social Justice kids today, the antidote to our culture's fatalism is the virtue of hope ... the virtue that is a quality that we develop through practice.

So, I'll try to hold out hope, to believe that our society as a genericized whole is not as self-centered as I believe sometimes, to trust that there are people out there who will stick with it until people's lives are together.

And I'll try to keep myself engaged with it as well. I'm the only one I can control, and if I keep these people in my mind, heart, and prayers, then I can at least know that they're not forgotten. But hope keeps me from leaving the task to "somebody else."

And finally, never lose hope in God's mercy. ~ Rule of Benedict 4:74
God's mercy will bring them through. Really, that's the only thing that can.

Peace to you, New Orleans, Mississippi, and everywhere else. May you never feel forgotten.


Anonymous sr. jeana said...

Speaking of longevity of response, I've wondered how the people are doing still rebuilding after the tsunami. It seems we haven't heard much since about the month-after marker. This may be different, being in our own country. With exiled people in more than one place now, I imagine that over the next few months, years? we will hear their wanting to go "home".

9/09/2005 8:11 PM  

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