"Preach the gospel at all times, if necessary use words." - St. Francis of Assisi

Monday, August 27, 2007

How Quickly Two Years Can Pass

It has been two years since we were watching the scenes of destruction and despair as Hurricane Katrina passed over the Gulf Coasts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. We cringed at the sights of the dead lining the sidewalks and shook our heads at the thought of how long rebuilding would take. When accounts of the many people left in hospitals and nursing homes came out, we all became horrified at the thought and praised the brave doctors and nurses who stayed behind to take care of those who could not be moved. The heroism of the police and fire departments were applauded as was the unknown citizens who were helping their fellowman, regardless of race or economic status.

And then, it seems, we forgot. Some other tragedy struck our own city or another country and we forgot. After all, we are at war in the Middle East and that occupies our minds now. The real estate market is slow, gas prices are high and, oh yeah, how ‘bout them Braves? And, we still continued to forget.

Folks, I don’t care a hoot about government or politics and who should have called who and why it took so many days to get buses or boats and helicopters into these areas two years ago. I don’t care one bit because in the grand scheme of things, it just isn’t that big a deal. The big deal is that our brothers and sisters in this world were affected by one of the worst natural disasters of all times and so many of us have forgotten. The big deal is not whether Mardi Gras or the casinos would start up again, but the fact that people are still without homes and families are still separated makes me want to alternately cry and scream at someone.

We sit here in our nice Henry County homes and worship in our nice Henry County churches and complain because of the heat wave and drought, but thousands of our fellow Americans are still homeless and have no churches to attend. We fuss because our utility bills are high; well, at least we have utilities.
It annoys us because we have to wait thirty minutes for a table at our favorite local restaurant; well, at least we have a car to drive to that restaurant…and at least there is a restaurant to which we can go.

The message of God is simple. Love Him and love others. Loving God is the easy part; loving others is not so easy. Why is that? Because loving others requires action. You have to make an effort. You have to get off that sofa or leave that store and interact with someone you may not know. Perish the thought that we give up one fast food meal a week to give a few dollars to an organization that provides assistance to those in true need.

So, you can’t go to Mississippi or Louisiana to do anything? Pooh. Sure you can. There are many organizations, public, private and religious all looking and begging for volunteers. The Red Cross, Salvation Army, Habitat for Humanity and other similar organizations need funds, supplies and, yes, people.

The anniversary of this catastrophe was especially poignant to me because my dad passed away at this same time last year. Two years and two tragedies; both in the same week. One large and worldwide media covered, the other more personal and no media. However, the people who came to my family's aid a year ago have not forgotten. We have received cards and phone calls from many this week who are expressing their thoughts and prayers.

The scriptures tell us to “bear each others burden.” Make life easier for someone by remembering. Never forget others.

And for today my friends, this has been the gospel according to Jimmy.