Wednesday, August 31, 2005

I can't even Imagine

Those are houses, under 6, 8, 10 feet of water. Inside them are millions of dollars worth of possessions from electronics to jewlery, clothing to personal memorabilia. All damaged, most lost. And then there are the hundreds if not thousands of people dead, some under the water, many more to come from disease. In the midst of this, there is grief, fear and looting for those that have 'survived' this horrific event.

I sit here, in relative comfort with electricity, running water, a refrigirator filled with food and beverages, a myriad of things to do with myself and I cannot even comprehend the magnitude of losing everything, of being displaced for days, weeks and maybe even months. It's easy to say it would never happen to me, 'cause I just wouldn't choose to live in a place like that (fill in the blank - flood plane, tornado area, hurricane area, etc.) But that means nothing, because millions of people right now in the Gulf Coast are dealing with this themselves. For them, it is real. It is not television news, not internet reports. This is their life, whatever they can make of it. This is their 9/11, only this time, no terrorists are to blame. There is no enemy to go after, no war to wage, only devestation to deal with and to somehow overcome. And yes, it will happen, I'm sure.

I think right now, it would do us (and I mean ALL of us, being us here and "us" in New Orleans and everywhere else affected) to pray. And also to prayerfully consider how we could help. I bet if every church in America donated this Sunday's offering to relief efforts, every church in America would still open it's doors the following Sunday, still be there at Christmas, Easter and still have enough money to run all its fun events. But since I doubt that every church will hear God's call to do that, I entreat you to prayerfully consider what you will do with your money this week. I know Red Cross is accepting donations, and you can call 1-800-HELP-NOW and donate by phone.

Also, something else that I can't even imagine has happened in Baghdad. Where 1000 or more people have died because of a bomb SCARE!! Yes, the above picture is just one example of what people ended up doing when a stampede ensued during a rally - they jumped into the Tigris River. Somed drowned, some died on impact, others were trampled to death by the weight of the crowd. But can you imagine... dying because of a bomb SCARE! Not a real bomb. Now, not to disrespect anyone or anything, but here we have a death toll in the neighbourhood of 1/7 of what happened on 9/11 in NYC... but here it's just a scare, it's just a fear, it's not even a real danger, just panic. That's amazing. That's NOT the world that we live in here in the West, it's just not.

Think of it this way, it's like if when the Pistons & Pacers first game after the brawl in Auburn Hills, when there was the bomb scare... it's like instead of the game only being delayed 90 minutes, it's like all 19 thousand people rushed the doors, and 1000 died on the way out, hundreds injured. It's like that. But that kinda stuff just doesn't happen here. I mean, until just recently (post-Oklahoma City, post-9/11) bomb threats were nothing. Growing up I'd hear about bomb threats in rival high schools, and usually they were just called in by disgruntled students who wanted to get out of class for the afternoon. No one was scared, but you evacuated the building in an orderly manner, whatever. You see, OUR world (and again, I mean us people in the West) just don't live in a world marked by that kind of fear. We just don't. We see stuff happen on the news, we see stuff happening to others, and we get teary eyed, we get sad, but we move on, 'cause our daily lives don't involve the kind of stuff like that on a regular basis. We're so far removed, so BLESSED that we can't even imagine what it's like to live life in constant fear of that kind of stuff.

Well, I just know one thing, it's time we started truly giving back to those that do not share in our blessings. It is time we stopped believing it our God-given right to be blessed, and started believing it our God-given TASK to bless others, both near AND far...


Mr. Higgins said...

Don, thank you for your comments on these two very tragic events.

I would like to propose another angle from which to look at this matter:

When the Tsunami in India happened last year our oil prices didn't even budge. Things remained pretty calm here in the West and we sent relief. However, not 48 hours after Katrina, we have seen oil prices jump and economists are talking about what is going to happen to our economy (pretty sad in the midst of such devestation).

So what? Well, I just think it is interesting how we think that our sending aid is enough - it's not. It's just a start. We have a FEAR in the West, which is reflected by the talk of the economists.

Oil prices jump and suddenly there is talk about our economy slowing. Hmmmm... that's interesting. Does that mean Joe won't be able to drive his big old SUV to the corner store any more? Does that mean he might have to walk, take the bus, carpool or bike somewhere? Does that mean that instead of buying that 2nd big screen t.v. for the kid's bedroom will have to wait until Christmas? There is a FEAR in the West of losing comfort and luxury.

We weren't even thinking about our luxury when the Tsunami happened, cause there was no oil. But as soon as Katrina happens, FEAR surfaces.

I wonder what would happen if people in the church not only sent aid, as you suggested, but maybe got over their FEAR of leaving luxury behind and began to put their resources, money, time and effort into greater things. I wonder if the West will ever get over their FEAR of losing their wealth, riches, and comfort?

I don't know, maybe we should ask some of those who saw their friends being trampled out of FEAR of a bomb threat in Baghdad, Iraq. At least their FEAR had some sort of precedent, whereas our FEAR is merely a perceived FEAR - a vain FEAR.

Mr. Higgins said...

By the way... I do include myself in the problem of vain FEAR. I only pray that God will grow in me and in his church a desire for that which is good, holy, pure, and just.