After Ike: The Pathos and Pain of Disaster

Sep 18th, 2008 | By | Category: Senior Moments Blog

After Ike, those of us less affected than many went about the routine of minor clean up. It didn’t take long. There were limbs strewn about the property, leaves down in clumps, all the patio furniture had to be put back in place. But imagine, no trees, no leaves, no patio!

Imagine nothing being where something was. Imagine the utter helplessness. Listen to the cries, again, for help and hope. Stand in soggy shoes and look to the horizon, where for miles there is nothing but devastation. Imagine the sense of absolute hopelessness.

Listen to the stories, the heartaches, the despair. Listen to the need, just for water or food. Listen to the wind, now subsided, but tremble in fear because it reminds you of what wind can do.

Awaken the senses to smell the odor and decay. Taste the bitterness of defeat. See the agony of deep hurt. Hear the sobbing.

Now, settle back into your lounger and be comfortable, if you can. It will take days and weeks and months and years for some to be able to do that. It will take sleepless nights and the growl of hunger to get through what’s ahead. It will take being courageous in the presence of your children and your family and your friends. Tears won’t stop. The ache won’t quit. There is an epidemic of despair for those so brutally affected.

Avoid cliches. For this is no cliche. This is real and present and dangerous. It has broken men and women and they aren’t smiling right now. It has scarred children. It has changed the land.

What, so far away, am I to do? How may I render Samaritan like aid to someone, somewhere who now feels like no one, nowhere?

The answers lie within the depth of our hearts and souls and minds. No more shirking our responsibility, no more easy answers, no more fear based religion or politics, no more! It is time to call on the essential fabric of our humanity. It is time we cared more for someone else, whether hit by a sudden disaster or affected by the daily ones. No more idle talk about “the poor and why they deserve their fate.” No more callous disregard for those whose lives are in tatters. No more.

John Donne put it: “Do not ask for whom the bell tolls, the bell tolls for thee” and me.

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