Wednesday, June 27, 2007


I was out driving in the city of New Orleans and the 9th Ward yesterday. And with a heavy heart, my eyes took in the suffering around me as I drove through neighborhoods.

In my witnessing of the suffering, the thought occurred to me - how is it in that in the United States, one of the wealthiest countries in the world, so many thousands could continue to suffer in such horrendous "living" conditions?

How is it that in certain areas of New Orleans those "who have" whom are comfortable and live in relative ease, could seem to be totally disconnected from the suffering of their neighbors?

And in that moment I realized that in the microcosm of the experiences of poverty and suffering I witness daily in New Orleans that I was simultaneously expereincing the macrocosm of planetary suffering.

Daily, I am able to witness what I perceive to be the disconnect in consciousness of those whose sufferings are relative compared with the ease of life that they enjoy, from those whose sufferings are heartbreaking visible for all who wish to see - to see .

How can it be that in this "compassionate nation", in just this one area for example - New Orleans, Louisiana - that so many seem to be disconnected from the face that a majority of its city's children do not have anywhere to go to, to relax from very stress filled lives, to play. How can they be unaware that for the working poor and the needy of the city, that for their children, the simplest pleasures to help relieve the stress of their lives, like movie theatres, pools, and playgrounds (many of which are dangerous for children) are unavailable? How can there be such a disconnect within one city, only 2 years after one of the greatest natural disasters this country has ever seen, that the children of the working poor and the needy have few day camp programs, that many children and teens have no where to play or meet but in the streets where a majority of the homes are gutted out shells - and where crime and drugs await them.

Daily I see women and their children walking in the streets to get to the stores in the hot Louisiana sun - desolate streets with gutted out shells of homes, a majority of businesses still closed, many of the bus lines are still down. For these women, getting the simplest items from the corner store is now a task, as many of the "corner stores" are closed and those in need must walk longer distances to get their family's basic needs met.

I wonder dear reader, will you remember them in your minds when you run out to Blockbuster to grab a movie tonight - "getting a movie" is not an option in many areas here. Remember your sisters who are mothers and their plight... as you are dropping off your children to the pool, or taking them to the library or a playground to play.

Will you remember "those who have not" in your hearts when your family is picnicking on the 4th of July?

Will you remember that in New Orleans there are thousands of families that will be stuck in FEMA trailers, depressed, with no place to go, limited funds at best, and must look constantly, at a sight that can only be described as the "corpses of homes" around them.
Will you remember them dear reader when you need to go "pick up a few things" at the store, will you give thanks for how easy it is for you to do so?

In New Orleans, Louisiana, and Mississippi where the storms destroyed whole parish's, counties, and infrastructures - getting to a store to get your basic needs met is now a "task" for the many, as the majority of chain stores, supermarkets, and corner stores are stilled closed.

Will you remember dear reader?

Will you remember as you go through your day, that this level of suffering is not only occurring here in the United States, - that millions of your planetary brothers and sisters - will have nothing to eat today, that they are prisoners within their own neighborhoods and homes, that they are in war zones, they are watching their children die of sickness and malnutrition.

Are your hearts and minds strong enough to bear the thought that each day millions of your planetary brothers and sisters are "dying" to get out of this living hell on earth.

Do not let the scope of the suffering of your planetary brothers and sisters overwhelm you...

All that you need to do is remember them.

For your hearts - if you remember those who are suffering in your minds - will guide you.

Here is my gift to you as to how to "be with the suffering" of others:

Before your heart can guide you as to what you can "do"

you must first make a conscious decision,

to remember them.

Prayers for the suffering...


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