Do you remember where you were 3 years ago when Katrina hit? I do. I was in my comfortable home in Georgia not worrying too much about what was going to happen to me over there. And aside from the gasoline prices skyrocketing and the shortages I was practically benign to what was really going on. Oh sure, I saw the reports of how it had affected the people of New Orleans and the gulf coast. I truly felt sorry for them but I was comfy in my own home and not really having to worry about that. I also knew that Katrina had interrupted the lives of those here in middle to northern MS as well. For example, my in-laws were without power for several days. It was August and hot as all get out. Since electricity was out air conditioning wasn't functioning so you can only imagine how hot it was. Gasoline shortages occurred here too but once again, I didn't have to worry about that.
Well now that I am living in middle MS things are a lot different now. I find my emotions are flying high. Last night as my husband and I were traveling north on I-55 (which is basically a direct route to and from Louisiana) we noticed so many cars going northbound from LA. I could feel the heartache coming on.
This morning as we entered our church parking lot we noticed it was filled with cars from LA. I didn't know it but our church is a Red Cross shelter. People were out and about in the lot looking so sad and full of despair. During the church service we learned it was filled with 150 people and they were having to turn people away. When we were leaving outside sat one young man with some of his personal belongings and his pet in its carrier. The heartache is getting bigger.
We went to Wal-Mart to buy groceries and in their lot the county had set up emergency services for people looking for shelter. We parked beside a car that had LA tags. The backseat of their car was filled and they had their animal carrier with them. The man was standing outside the car and I just wanted to say something but words escaped me. What do you say to someone who is so displaced? Good morning didn't seem quite appropriate and of course "How are you" is out of the question. The heartache is almost at the breaking point.
When we left I was talking to my husband about how sad this is and he said, "Well I didn't want to tell you in church but when I went to the restroom there was a man in there that was bawling like a baby. He was obviously from LA with his cajun accent. He was telling someone when Katrina hit 3 years ago, she hit on his birthday and he had to leave his home. Now here it is 3 years later and he's had to leave again." Well needless to say this just tore me up. I started bawling like a baby and I looked at my husband who was crying as well.
As we headed up I-55 to go back home every other car that passed us had LA plates. Can you imagine having to pack up everything that you can possibly fit into your vehicle and leave your home? And then not knowing if you'll have a home to return to? I can't imagine that!
I'm glad I'm not feeling benign this time. It makes me feel very fortunate and blessed.
Please pray for all the people on the gulf, all the displaced people from Louisiana and all the families in the caribbean that have lost loved ones.