Wednesday, August 31, 2005

In 1995, I encountered my first hurricane, Opal, in Auburn, Alabama. Since Auburn is only 170 miles or so inland from the Gulf of Mexico, I figured that such events were expected every 10-20 years or so. I also figured that the reason I'd never encountered a hurricane was because I'd grown up in North Alabama. However...

To see an amazing animation of all of last year's U.S. hurricanes, go here.
Last year, when Hurricane Ivan hit, I lived in Moulton, Alabama and we still had 70 mph winds. This, I thought, would be the last hurricane to ever effect me because Moulton is around 300 miles from the Gulf. However...

We moved to Murfreesboro, Tennessee recently. The Boro is around 400 miles from the Gulf, and Hurricane Katrina got us good on Monday night. Which begs the question... Are you folks in Canada really safe from these things?

In all seriousness, the situation in south MS and New Orleans is heart breaking. My friend BK does a good job of describing his feelings and the tragedy he's seen on TV. I agree with him... makes you see how most everything else of a temporary nature is, well, temporary... and how suffering people are so much more important that 99% of the stuff we consume ourselves with.

I must rebuff him for not following my advice on which 24 hours news channels to watch, however. He rightly points out that the looting of grocery stores for food is not exactly grand larceny when you consider the dire needs of the folks affected there. They're even out of food at places like the Superdome. However, if he'd have watched MSNBC's coverage last night he'd would not have seen any looting of grocery stores. In fact, one reporter sympathized with those looters on air. He would have seen hundreds of people stealing electronic equipment and other creature comforts... most of them men in their 20-40's. And how much do you want to bet that many of them don't work? Those are the ones that make me angry.

But in the whole scheme of things, looting is completely unimportant. Authorities there need to focus on saving people. Last night I watched Larry King for about 10 minutes and have this to say about what I saw:

1. A lady called in and said that her cousin was trapped in his attic in NO and needed rescuing. Apparently all the hotlines she had tried were tied up. She had been talking to him on Monday when the water was rising up to his ceiling. As he climbed in the attic, apparently he dropped his cell phone in the water and she had not heard anything from him.

2. Larry King is a complete idiot. His response was to ask one of the reporters, whom he deemed familiar with situations like this, to offer advice for someone stuck in their attic while the waters were rising. WHAT???!?!? The reporter, Anderson Cooper, was dumbfounded at the question because anyone stuck in an attic with water rising ain't watching TV, and after a few seconds he had the sense to change the subject to helping the lady who called by letting her know that all communication was down and thus her cousin might be OK. Then...

3. Louisiana's governor proceeded to show complete ignorance on many issues. I wonder what the purpose for being on the show was? She did have the presence of mind to ask the lady to call back and give her cousin's address so he could be checked on.

About my life... the weather here is beautiful today and it is actually not stifling hot for a change.

I have been busy, busy, dreadfully busy over the past few days... and things will not lighten up for a while. The first 2 weeks of class are always packed full of stuff in campus ministry... all things designed to get students plugged in and start forming relationships. On Sunday afternoon I had planned to attend the online draft for my fantasy football league... but things at church went long and I didn't make it home in time... sorry Brad.

Monday was our first BIG event. Picnic and Praise Devotional. Of course, all the rain meant that we had to do everything inside, but we still had over 250 students here and lots of helpers. All we did was eat and sing (not at the same time... that would be ugly). Praise was led by Kip Long. Awesome stuff. My favorite song for the moment is "Blessed be the Name of the Lord". You can hear it here. Of course our version is a capella, but the words and music are the same. Truly a poignant expression of a journey of faith.

Yesterday we started our Tuesday lunches at the student center, which we call Bread Break. I was talking with a Vietnamese student whom I've gotten to know well over the past month and a half. I could tell that he was troubled. Turns out that he had his qualifying exams for the PhD program thrust on him at the last moment (he thought he could take them next year). Though he has never expressed a belief in God, he sincerely asked for prayers yesterday. It is a humbling experience to pray for a guy like that as he cries in your office. Reminded me of my mission.

I'll try to post some new Helen pics tomorrow...


Blogger Michael Pahl said...

Actually, Michael, Canada is not safe from hurricanes! Here in the western prairies we are safe from everything but tornadoes, drought, and flood, but any time there is a major hurricane it thoroughly drenches central-eastern Canada often causing some flooding, and occasionally full hurricane force has been seen in the maritimes...

10:55 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home