Bayou Calvinist

A Somewhat Eclectic Discussion by a Law Student Concerning All of Today's Major Topics, as well as, a Few Not So Major Topics

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Tough Times

The tragedy of Hurricane Katrina has hit close to home and its full effects are still unknown. I live in Baton Rouge, which is approximately sixty miles northwest of New Orleans. Being further from the eye of Katrina when she struck and being several feet above sea level, Baton Rouge has fared very well for the most part. My own experience was nothing to write about (a leaky roof and a few downed trees). Much of my city is still without power and there are indeed a few stories of tragedy...but in comparison to what has occurred to the south and east of here, Baton Rouge was barely touched. My two bedroom apartment has been shared with as many as a dozen friends and family less fortunate than myself for the past few days. But for the most part even these people experienced nothing even approaching what those who were worst hit are now dealing with. Knowing the area as well as I do...The images seen on TV and elsewhere are hardly recognizable and when I am able to spot any familiar site its current condition is appalling. I can only say that to a certain extent I am still in a state of disbelief. I refuse to believe that a city, which despite my constant joking was a source of pride for this area, is more or less no more. The fear of what has happened and yet is still unknown, the fear of what is to come in the next few days...weeks...months...years, and the sense that I have not done enough nor will ever be able to do enough to atone for my good fortune throughout this week haunt me.

As many of the refugees from New Orleans and surrounding areas are bussed into Baton Rouge (nearly doubling the size of this city of about 300,000) and I am able to see and hear their plight first hand, it is clear that the tragedy can never be truly measured (whether in lives lost, possessions forever gone, landscapes changed forever). How can one dare guess what the value of freedom from worry for a mother when she is unable to find her children is worth, the loss of a child's entire world, and the loss of thousands of belongings to which special meaning is attached. It is often the case that those most touched by this tragedy are looking most often for direction (someone to tell them what to do), hope (of seeing loved one's again, of having a life to look forward to) and some sense of justification for why this has befallen them. Direction for where to go and what to do is probably the easiest of these to remedy and with the slow increase in communications capabilities many answers should be forthcoming in the days and weeks ahead. The search for hope, though difficult to believe today, also is likely to be successful. Humanity, for the most part, is greatly resilient and will look for and find comfort in nearly every thing imaginable (of course this will not occur immediately...but after the shock and initial depression begin to ware off the mind will immediately turn towards places of hope). The search for justification, however, is not so certain to be successful for most. Many with strong faith may arrive at the conclusion, as I often do, that the complexity of the universe and God's plan acting through it are so great that we as humans are incapable of ever grasping a true understanding for why something so terrible has happened. It will remain a mystery...but because we have faith in the Lord and his plan for us and humanity it is possible to say that all life's trials, no matter how great, were in a sense foreordained (this is not to say individuals morally deserve what has happened anymore than do we all...but rather to recognize that death is not the end and for many who lost their lives, with death has come their everlasting reward). So I return to the notion that while as humans we are destined to attempt to make logical sense out of what has occurred, out of what seems illogical, no sure answers will be found. We must all Have faith.
For all those throughout the nation and the world, I beg that you keep the victims in your prayers and help in anyway you can. Here is a list of places to donate money and time:

Money Donations Only:

American Red Cross
1-800-435-7669 (English)

1-800-257-7575 (Spanish)

Operation Blessing

America's Second Harvest

Donate Cash and Volunteer with:

Adventist Community Services 1-800-381-7171

Bnai B'rith International

Catholic Charities, USA 1-800-919-9338

Christian Disaster Response 941-956-5183 or 941-551-9554

Christian Reformed World Relief Committee 1-800-848-5818

Church World Service 1-800-297-1518

Convoy of Hope 417-823-8998

Corporation for National and Community Service Disaster Relief Fund (202)606-6718

Lutheran Disaster Response 800-638-3522

Mennonite Disaster Response 717-859-2210

Nazarene Disaster Response 888-256-5886

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance 800-872-3283

Salvation Army 1-800-SAL-ARMY (725-2769)

Southern Baptist Convention -- Disaster Relief 1-800-462-8657, ext. 6440

United Methodist Committee on Relief 1-800-554-8583


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