Finally, seven days afterward we're starting to get encouraging reports of what is happening in the lives of folks along our southern border.
For nearly a week, as I laid in bed recuperating from surgery, I watched way too much network television. Their reports were full of horrifying predictions, blaming and the same films over and over again of the worst elements. All, it seemed, orchestrated to make me phone certain officials and demand heads. What it did do was drive me to prayer for these folks, a prayer that also contained the plea for truth to be revealed.
Finally, yesterday, I was awakened from a doze by a CBN report that contained testimonies of God's grace and the thankfulness of folks who've lost pretty much everything. It was really the first positive news I'd heard since being sent to bed. I saw a man and his finance express their thankfulness to a young man who had built the roof they used as a raft to save their lives. I'll bet it never occurred to that young man to do the best job possible because it would be needed to save lives. A great lesson in making sure that every task we do is done to the best of our ability.
I have managed to ease myself into the chair before my computer and I'm finding a bit more positive information, mostly thanks to the blogsphere. Those folks have become the 21st century HAM radio operators. At the very time that our dependence upon the usual became impossible they were folks that took it upon themselves to get the word out.
Most striking to me was Bill Hobbs reports about the numbers of school busses that remained parked while trusting New Orleaneans gathered downtown. If I learned anything from Y2K it was that we all needed to accept the responsibility of our own preparedness. But, I began to think, somehow, those in New Orleans, and elsewhere, were taught that taking care of themselves was someone else's responsibility and so, understandably, when that wasn't done, they were furious. To have, whether intentionally or not, created a dependent class of folks and not followed through with protecting them is a grave disservice...I believe we'll agree on that. However, it will take a while before we know exactly who let down whom and while we're still plucking folks from rooftops and flooded streets is not the time to stop and have that conversation.
I was dismayed by First Lady Laura Bush's call to get the children enrolled in schools as quickly as possible. I'm no child development "expert", but this mom knows that when the worst happens, children want their mom and dad and family around them for comfort, support and answers. I understand the need for a return to some sort of normalcy, but I don't think that throwing these children into the arms of complete strangers during such a traumatic time is really the best thing to do. I don't care if they miss months of school, their well-being is so much more than what grade they are in. They'll catch up. The lesson they need to learn now is that THEY are safe, now, and that they are loved. Which is something that really is best taught at home with family.
Not at all unremarkable was the "Why did God do this?" question. The raising of that question was a predictable as the blaming of President Bush. My summer reading of "Is God to Blame?" by Gregory Boyd confirmed my own belief that God didn't do this. It wasn't His wrath, it wasn't judgment, it wasn't owed to us (well, death is owed we sinners, yes). If Jesus really was the true representation of The Father, and I have a hard time finding Jesus being wrathful except at the misuse of the Temple, than the acts of God are not the storm, the death, the aftermath it's more along the lines of what this Salvation Army Major had to say.
"Natural disaster is caused by the sin in the world," said Maj. John Jones, area commander for the Salvation Army, who led the service. "The acts of God are what happens afterwards ... all the good that happens." From Reuters.And, the good that happens during, like rooftops that float by as well as those cases of drinks and fruit cocktail that floated by in answer to prayer, the thousands that were saved from drowning and worse. And good is happening, will happen and will come from even this, the worst natural disaster to hit our country. And it's not because humans are naturally good, it's because God is supernaturally good (all the time). And you cannot hide that news, even with an army of reporters.