The reports from FOX News kept playing through my mind as I went to bed last night. After maybe 45 minutes of tossing and turning, I drifted into a restless slumber, only to awaken less than four hours later, thoughts still churning. Fear. Depression. I recognize those nasty emotions.
I’ve got some hard things happening in my personal life, things that won’t change quickly or easily. I haven’t been able to write much over the past month because of the situation, but the last week saw no production at all. I’m wrestling with the plot and characters, and I’m wrestling with my own feelings in the midst of life’s storms.
But as I said, what haunted my dreams last night were the images from the news: The picture of Geraldo Rivera holding a 10-month-old child outside the New Orleans Convention Center, tears streaking his cheeks, begging for relief; the memory of Shepard Smith’s voice cracking with emotion as he spoke of the people on the freeway who don’t know where to go, who keep getting passed by; the reports of rapes and murders that have happened in the Superdome and Convention Center while people waited to be rescued. It’s unthinkable. Unbearable.
The New Orleans convention center was the location of the first CBA convention that I attended. That was five years ago, in the summer of 2000. It’s about one mile from one end of that center to the other and several stories tall. I keep thinking of it as it was at that time, with its bright lights and air conditioning, and then imagining it as reports say it is now, overflowing with debris and human waste and the bodies of the dead. I am heartsick. How can this be? How can this be?
I want to tell the politicians of both parties to stop pointing fingers of blame. Stop thinking about the next election and how this might affect you, whether you think it might cost you an election or whether you think you can use it to your advantage. Stand up. “Be a man” (even if you’re a woman). Do your job now!
I reach for a glass of cold water on my desk. I filled that glass with a turn of the tap. I unconsciously think and expect that it will always be easy to get a drink of water that’s safe and clean. But harsh reality says that isn’t true. It isn’t for those people still in New Orleans or for thousands upon thousands of others across the storm-ravaged area.
Fear and depression. Yes, they have troubled my soul, disturbed my sleep. But I take them now to the foot of the cross, a place where I can partake of Living Waters.
God is our refuge and strength,
always ready to help in times of trouble.
So we will not fear, even if earthquakes come
and the mountains crumble into the sea.
Let the oceans roar and foam.
Let the mountains tremble as the waters surge!
Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy!
I look to you for protection.
I will hide beneath the shadow of your wings
until this violent storm is past.
I cry out to God Most High,
to God who will fulfill his purpose for me.
O God, listen to my cry!
Hear my prayer!
From the ends of the earth,
I will cry to you for help,
for my heart is overwhelmed.
Lead me to the towering rock of safety,
for you are my safe refuge,
a fortress where my enemies cannot reach me.
Let me live forever in your sanctuary,
safe beneath the shelter of your wings!
In the grip of His grace,