Sunday, September 04, 2005

The Case for Help

Let me take a break from snarking on the usual fluffy girly stuff so I could get on the virtual soapbox here.

I've been thinking a lot about what's happening in New Orleans with Katrina and I'm a little shell-shocked by what I've been seeing and reading. You would think that an industrialized country like ours would have the wherewithal to be punctual when it comes to aiding those in need in our country, but apparently that's not the case. The more we see what's happening in Louisiana, the more we realize that devastation is closer to home than we think.

You watch footage like this - the flooding, the desperation - and you almost want to shut down. You see this happening in other countries like Sri Lanka, India, Bangladesh, and you think it's not going to happen in your back yard. Then it does, and you're speechless.

We here in Hawaii have seen our fair share of desperation; we've had hurricanes that have destroyed entire islands, volcanic eruptions that have decimated communities, and bureaucratic snafus that have kept us from getting the disaster aid that we truly need. Still, that does not excuse us, or anyone else, from not pulling it together for our fellow men. I want to say that I'm used to it, coming from the Philippines where the entire country endures storms like Katrina every single year. Still, it doesn't exclude me from feeling helpless.

As someone who has become increasingly apolitical with age, it chafes me whenever I walk into a coffee shop, or go into the blogosphere, and all I keep hearing from people is the endless chatter of how everything sucks about this situation. And I want to just walk away, because I can't seem to absorb what's happening and all I want to say is, The hell with politics - what the heck are YOU doing for these people? Why don't you just get off your high horse and give something, ANYTHING? You want a definition of "too little, too late" - just look at the criticism of everything from relief efforts to federal aid to flood insurance, which strikes me as a bit of Monday-morning quarterbacking. For crying out loud, I have friends who self-dispatched themselves to Thailand after the tsunami bearing donations for relief workers becuase they couldn't bear to see what had become of Phuket - and these are the same people who usually would not think about Thailand other than a place to party. If FEMA hadn't warned me about it I would be there, too. But all I can do right now is write, and post links, and raise money, and pray.

Yes, prayer. Maybe now's the time to talk to God the way you've wanted to talk to Him all this time. Now's the time to ask Him, as honestly as you possibly can, why He let this happen and what it is exactly that He wants you - yes, you - to learn from this. Go ahead, do that - you know He can take it, because He's been insulted so many times before. Look at all the Psalms - they all start with complaints, despair, anger, and yet they always break into songs of praise and affirmation at the end. You may not like His answer, but you have to be OK with that, and you still have to be willing to listen. Like I always say, you'll never know what He'll tell you if you let Him.

That's all I'll have to say from here. We'll return to our usual Domesticity coverage after this weekend.

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