Maybe it's my age or something, but I've reached the fatigue level on Katrina much sooner than normal. There comes a point in every disaster where I simply have to step away from coverage and debates. I have to get away from thinking about it entirely for a bit.
We all hit that time, I know we do. I remember being shocked at peers who burned out early during the Murrah Federal Building bombing in 1995. Some wanted to close the door on it before the rubble was cleared. I understand a little better now than I did then.
I'm not saying I've turned my back on the suffering or on our necessary response to this. Not at all. Simply saying that I can't stay immersed in the pain 24/7 feeling impotent.
Last night, I even went to a ball game with a group of friends. We went to watch the RedHawks play against Omaha. Our 'Hawks lost, but it was fun. I think the 9,000-plus people there probably shared a common need to set aside a few hours to return to some sense of normalcy. There were moments when I felt guilty for doing so. We don't want to have fun when others are in the midst of devastation.
I wanted to wake up this morning and find that all the help that is needed has found its way to all those who are in need, NOW. I wanted us not to have reasons to feel disappointed that there's been a lack of leadership at many levels. I don't want there to be a reason to place blame.
We don't always get what we want. But sometimes we have to take a step back to make sure we're not just screaming into the winds because of our great personal frustrations at not being able to CHANGE THINGS. It's easy to believe that we could somehow do things better if we were "in charge." And maybe there are better leaders. I think so.
But last night after enjoying the game, and crawling into my own cozy, soft, clean bed, as I was dozing off I realized so much of our (my) rantings have simply served to burn off some of the energy I wish I could apply to end suffering. I can't pluck babies and old people out of New Orleans, as much as I want to. So that adrenaline has to go elsewhere, and it's been channeled into expression. I'm not alone.
Oh how I wish I could do more, but I will do all that I can. Refugees are arriving in my area, and I will donate as many good, usable items as I can. I'll support the United Methodist Committee on Relief. I'll urge others to do all they can do.
I can't donate blood, or I would have already been at the blood bank. I hate that, but I've been permanently deferred after being a 2-gallon donor. If you can give blood, PLEASE do so. PLEASE.