Irene’s Devastation

I am writing today with a heavy heart.

I watched the images this week of destruction in North Carolina and Virginia, of flood waters covering cities in New Jersey and of streams crashing through bridges, roads, homes and buildings in Vermont. The town of Prattsville, NY—more than two hours away from the coastline—is now virtually unrecognizable. As of Tuesday afternoon, 3.3 million customers were still without electricity; 33% of Connecticut and Rhode Island residents are still cut off. Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin said, “It’s just devastating. Whole communities under water, businesses, homes, obviously roads and bridges, rail transportation infrastructure.”

I am shocked and burdened by these images. I get frustrated when the power goes off for a few hours; many of the people who are in crisis from the Hurricane will be without power for days if not weeks! We need to pray for them. When appropriate, we need to lend a hand to them. We need to support them just as we would appreciate their supporting us were the roles reversed. At this early stage, I’m not sure exactly how to help the most, but as time goes on, opportunities will present themselves. My spiritual vitality rests on my willingness to sacrifice for others, including these in need.

I am also stunned, though honestly not all that surprised, that some of our leaders in Washington are using this tragedy for political capital. At a time when we ought to be putting aside differences and joining hands to help people in crisis, it’s politics as usual. Some Republicans are using this as an opportunity to find fault with President Obama and the governmental agencies who are attempting to respond. Some Democrats are using this as an opportunity to blame the other side of the aisle for lack of funding. It is politics that makes every cynic smile!

I don’t know what to do about the political situation; I’m not sure that there’s much we can do. But we can choose to act differently. We can refuse to point fingers at anyone and instead choose to let the compassion of Christ guide us. I’m praying that God will give me grace to make this choice. I hope that you are too.