The news is still the same. My mother-in-law is in Florida, unable to return to what used to be Biloxi, Mississippi. My sister-in-law’s mother-in-law (got that connection?) is, I assume, waiting to be evacuated from New Orleans. And still no word on the rest of my New Orleans relatives. It’s all just waiting, waiting, waiting.
I watch television with my husband, who flips back and forth from CNN to The Weather Channel looking for a shot of North Biloxi or the Back Bay to assess the damage to his childhood home. I can’t spend too much time on it, however. I have dishes to wash, children to change into their pajamas and tuck into bed.
Life on the Coast is like a war zone, the people are refugees. They are seeking refuge from the scenes of destruction, from the disease-carrying flood waters, from life without sanitation, potable water, or electricity.
How does one begin the overwhelming task of rebuilding? All infrastructure has been destroyed. Gone are the roads that led to gas stations and Wal-Marts. Gone are the Wal-Marts, the pharmacies, the banks, the malls, the movie theaters. For miles all one can see is devastation and despair.
I believe in the resilience of humanity. Times like these bring out the worst in people—witness the looting—but they also bring out the best. The people of the Gulf Coast region are suffering one of the worst kinds of tragedy. They have lost their loved ones, their homes, their churches, and had the very fabric of their lives shredded before their eyes. Yet when I add their inner strength and faith in God with the generosity of those of us moved by their suffering, I cannot help but find the sum as the will to endure, to persevere in the face of overwhelming difficulties. Perhaps if those of us who did not suffer Katrina’s wrath reach out to those who did, we will all be better for it.