From someone with as good credentials as we have ever seen, and Austin roots.
Gerry Charlotte Phelps was teaching economics at the
University of Houston when she was arrested for armed robbery and
sentenced to 35 years in prison. Out of her layered experience of prison and programs come sane words for long-term assistance to those whose lives were disrupted by
Katrina, and whose opportunity is to move out of poverty. The latest
chapter is here.
These are not things that need to be done during the first part of this emergency. Rather, this is for the time after that, when Katrina evacuees will be moving from getting immediate emergency assistance to trying to normalize their lives. That is when good programs to help them "up and out" of their situation need to kick in. The following is for that time.
It seems wrong, narrow, narcissistic, merely to be grateful to have been out of the swath of Katrina, ourselves.
So much misery.
The texture of life in the city, its history cannot be put back.
It's breaking my heart to see the filthy water submerging those little shotgun houses. Unless you've seen it with your own eyes, you cannot grasp just how utterly poor "the poor" of New Orleans are--100,000 of them at the very least. They have nothing left. What government or charitable agencies can feed, house, and support such numbers for long months to come?
So much contemptible human failure, turning the screws on each other.
Looting has also escalated and an atmosphere of lawlessness has developed.
How in the name of a mysterious and sublime Providence can this be eventually turned to good...? Too big for our contemplation, too sad for now to ponder other than to contribute what we can, and be prompted to cherish our fellow man nearby and far away. And, legitimately, be prepared to be cheered by the astonishing resilience of decent people.
Thanks for sharing, Mr. Zimbleman. We sincerely hope you find what you're looking for, and those of us who see it that way say a prayer for you. Sounds like some of us were remiss in geniality and waited far too long to demonstrate good will toward you.
A particularly modern psycho-heresy comes from our being pumped full of pseudo-knowledge about other lives, roles, and histories. Mundane and spiritual ambition* run amok in one's thinking. Well, it has to be something big, worthwhile, full of glory and importance. Or I won't do it. "If I can't be Hemingway, why blog?"
Tony Woodlief is back on track, with a tale of fences, dogs, and small boys, one of whom, with Jack Benny timing, must ponder quite a while deciding whether he'd rather sacrifice a red ball, or Daddy, to a furry predator next door. Tony (his writing, we don't know him, but we think we do) is the purest example of Deep Real Feeling, funny without the tell-tale superior flourish.
I read somewhere that most people are never more than eight feet from a spider. Spiders are ubiquitous and secretive. Suffering is like that, everywhere and hidden.
Sometimes we've been bitten, sometimes we're oblivious. It might be good, especially for Lent, to step carefully among the invisible spiders, offering gentle kindness to those who appear to be just fine.