COMPLETE DEVASTATION

I used to think that movies like Mad Max were truly science fiction… that the world of Mad Max would never sprout from the throes of civilization in my United States. And then I turned on the news last night and people were shooting at rescue teams with AK47’s and raping survivors of a catastrophic flood. The looting, the holdups, the riots, the filth, the anarchy and chaos… is only about a five hour drive away east on I-10.

New Orleans is now a hellish cesspool and many of those poor people have lost their minds and any shred of civility to which they had been clinging… and some, some have even regressed to brutality and evil. Even the world of Mad Max seemed to be more civilized.

I can only watch news coverage for about 15 minutes at a time. I usually end up on the verge of tears, my mind twisted by the images it’s absorbing. I can’t even imagine what those people are going through, yet I know that if Houston had faced a category 5 hurricane I could be waiting for evacuation from the Astrodome, if I was lucky.

While people are rushing to aid those affected by Hurricane Katrina, I have stepped back, as I used to do, and see where the greatest need is, or find something that has been missed, and I step in to fill the hole.

As I was sitting here tonight contemplating what will happen when the thousands of eager volunteers trail off after a week or two of action, I got an e-mail from my church about opportunities to serve at the end of the month.

The Mayor of Houston has asked the faith community to band together to feed the refugees in the Astrodome for the next few months. My church, along with other Episcopal churches in Houston, will join the Lutheran churches, the Christian Church, the Disciples of Christ, The Jewish Federation of Greater Houston, The Society of Friends (Quakers), and The Hindu Community in providing the food and the volunteers for a seven day period beginning Wednesday, September 28th. I plan to serve Saturday, October 1st during the lunch shift (10 AM – 4 PM). Please keep all involved in your prayers.

In the meantime, I will continue to gather what I can to help the relief effort… donate clothes, and whatever else I can. The first thing that entered my mind was books, because if I was stuck in the Astrodome with no money I’d go bonkers if I didn’t have SOMETHING to do. So we’ll see what I do with all these ideas that pop into my head.

And I need to quit watching the news and let myself relax or laugh and know that to serve I will need my sense of humor as well as my compassion.

There but for the grace of God go I.

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