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In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, I find myself awash with many of the same emotions I experienced during the days and weeks following the September 11 terrorist attacks on our nation.  Some days I'm weepy.  Some days I'm numb.  Some days I'm berating myself for feeling emotionally funky when there are so many who are living with the direct impact of the storm.  I almost feel guilty for suffering emotional distress.  After all, Galveston was spared the wrath of Katrina.  I haven't lost everything I owned.  I haven't been displaced from my home.  I haven't gone hungry or had to wade through filthy flood waters or been torn apart from my family in the midst of Nature's fury.

 

Recently, I visited with a friend of mine who is employed at BP Amoco in Texas City and inquired how she was doing, nearly some six months after the explosion there.  She expressed how she alternately struggles with emotional scars from the event, and then twinges of guilt for having such feelings since she suffered no direct physical ramifications from the blast.  She feels like she should be "over it" in a lot of ways.... that her timetable to experience grief has long since expired, if she ever had the right to grieve in the first place.

 

In our world where news reports are broadcast 24 hours a day, every day, there are lots and lots of hours to fill with images of human suffering.  I catch myself glued to CNN or ABC or whoever is airing Katrina coverage that I've not previously seen, and then I'm depressed and nearly paralyzed to do much else as I try to process this overload to my pysche.  I feel like going about my business is turning my back on those in need, and yet, there is only so much I can comprehend in the wake of such loss. 

 

I want to encourage you to weep with me, to allow yourself the space to grieve.  There is no timetable.  We will each respond in different ways, but it is important, as Christians, that we do respond as we grieve for our brothers and sisters in faith.  It is appropriate that we grieve.  You have just as much right to grieve as those in the direct impact of the storm.  As Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians 12,  12The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. 13For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink... 26If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.

 

And as I sit here musing, I wonder how very many tears God must shed for us, His beloved creation, His very children.  Surely God suffers in each of our sufferings, just as we believe God rejoices with us.

 

And so, when I've got no answers, when I'm feeling more than overwhelmed, when I'm at a loss for where the next step should land, I turn to Scripture and come upon something like this passage in the 30th chapter of Isaiah:

19. . . you will weep no more. How gracious he will be when you cry for help! As soon as he hears, he will answer you. 20 Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them. 21 Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, "This is the way; walk in it."

 

Grace and peace to you as you journey.

Yours in Christ,  

~~Jennifer

9/06/05

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