posted on Sep, 5 2005 @ 10:37 PM
The World Of Majic: Coping With Katrina
(JEJ: It's Majic time)
(The World Of Majic® theme intro)
Welcome to The World Of Majic®. I'm your host, Majic. That's M-A-J-I-C, coming to you via the AboveTopSecret.com Member PODcast network.
Hurricane Katrina is without a doubt one of the worst disasters in U.S. history, and it now seems certain that not hundreds, but thousands of
Americans have died as a result of the storm and its aftermath. As the shock of what has happened begins to wear off, it is natural for anger to take
over, and indeed, we are seeing anger and outrage everywhere, including right here with me.
We're all human, and there's only so much we can take. I recommend remembering, however, that anger is an expression of fear, and fear is the enemy
of reason. There is nothing wrong with feeling a great deal of emotion about all this -- I know I do -- but I caution listeners to avoid letting
emotion lead them to even further sorrow.
In her book titled "On Death and Dying", Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross identified five stages people go through when they grieve. While there's
plenty of disagreement about how accurate they may be, the model is helpful, if not all-encompassing.
The first stage is Denial. I remember how I felt as Hurricane Katrina bore down on New Orleans. I thought it would be bad, but not too bad. I
feared for the city, but figured it would pull through. I was already denying what was really quite obvious in retrospect.
When news started pouring out of New Orleans about how bad it really was, again, it took a while for me to believe. It just wasn't registering how
bad it was.
Once that started sinking in, I moved on the the second stage: Anger. As my last podcast attests, I was pretty angry about what was happening, and
made no secret of it. Some of that anger was justified, and some of it wasn't.
While railing at the incompetence of leaders, I overlooked the incredible bravery and heroism of people on the ground -- many of them ordinary
citizens -- who were fighting day and night to save their fellow human beings. As my awareness of the enormity of the human triumphs which have
occurred in the aftermath grows, I shake my head in awe and wonder at their significance.
Though many of my fellow Americans abandoned themselves to criminality and shame, so many more stood together, and their legendary deeds are truly an
inspiration for the ages.
To those Americans who stood firm and turned to help their neighbors when all seemed lost, I say that they should know that this is precisely how I
define a hero. If you are one of those, people, God bless you. The strength of your character is all the reward you will ever need, and it is a rich
endowment far beyond the value of my humble appreciation. Thank you.
Moving past anger, we come to Bargaining. Maybe it's not so bad, maybe it's been blown out of proportion, maybe we'll learn from this. Maybe the
horror we have witnessed will make future disasters less deadly. Maybe it was all for the better, as bad as it was. Maybe.
Then comes depression. For me, it's the thought of so many people -- especially the children -- who've lost everything and have no real place to
call home. Sleeping in shelters, in stadiums, in tents, on the ground, or in the attic of a flooded house, how could the survivors not lose all
I'm grateful to have never been a victim of a disaster like Katrina, but I'm no stranger to hardship and despair. I know how it feels to not have a
place to call home, and it breaks my heart to know that hundreds of thousands of my fellow Americans are living through that right now.
It's a sad day in the history of our nation, and no mistake. And the sorrow we feel is shared by billions as our fellow human beings -- our brothers
in sisters -- around the world, learn of the suffering which is taking place here in the United States.
Which brings us to the final stage, Acceptance. At some point, we must accept that this happened, and that we must accept that things like this will
happen, despite our wish that it not be so.
The world is a dangerous place. Even for us pampered Americans, life can be bitter. And no matter who we are, our fate is the same. We're all going
to die, sooner or later. Life is terminal. No one gets out alive. It is inevitable.
For all the wonderful and terrible things life offers, in the end, we leave with nothing more than we came with: ourselves. I don't know what lies
beyond death -- I suspect that it may not be the end -- but whether it is or not, it is good to remember that all the money and power in the world
cannot prevent the inevitable, and that puts all human beings in the same boat.
We have seen some of the worst nature and humanity have to offer, but we are also seeing some of the best.
There are some members of ATS who have made the claim that no one is coming to the assistance of the United States in its time of need. To those
members, I have some advice: break open your piggy banks and buy a freakin' clue. What are you smoking?
The world is literally falling all over itself to help. Aid and offers of aid are pouring in from almost every nation on the face of the earth. Even
nations which are not on the friendliest of terms with the U.S. are helping. This is not about nations, this is about human beings, and in times like
this we all pull together.
And that's where we come to what I call the Sixth Stage of Grief: Action. Once we know what has happened, and have dealt with the shock, pain and
sorrow in our own ways, it's time to do something about it.
If you are feeling frustrated and want to help, you can. Yes, there are issues with organized charities, and yes, we ATSers especially are keen to
questions of fraud and abuse in charities just as we are skeptical of them in governments. But there are still some excellent, well-run charities out
there, and I urge my fellow members not to let a few scandals obscure the many wonderful things organized charities do for people.
Some members are weighing the idea of physically going to the Gulf Coast and helping. That's an admirable way to react, but I urge caution. If you
want to go and help, be sure to do so as part of a volunteer organization, or you may end up becoming part of the problem yourself. Again, there are
many fine organizations that will gladly welcome your personal assistance, and if you should be inspired to join them, that is one of the highest
callings a human being can answer.
If you want to make a difference, there are many, many ways you can. I'm not going to endorse any specific way, because I strongly believe that's a
And on that note, if your choice is to simply say a prayer or send good thoughts, that's okay, too. I'm the last person on earth who wants to try to
guilt anyone into doing something, even something as important as this. It's not hard to donate money -- it's easy to do online, for example -- or
donate other things, but, again, decisions like that are a personal choice, and I respect that, whatever your choice may be.
The important thing to remember is that our frustration, anger and grief are normal and human, but these expressions of fear will not bring comfort to
those who are in pain.
Rather, that is the purpose of love, and make no mistake about it, love is pouring into the heart of America with abundance. In response to the horror
of Katrina, we are already seeing the miracle of love.
And that, my friends, is what will ultimately conquer all.
For more information on the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, be sure to visit the Katrina Aftermath forum on AboveTopSecret.com.
This has been another edition of The World Of Majic® brought to you by the AboveTopSecret.com Member PODcast network.
Until next time, remember this:
Love and fear are things you gain more of by giving them away. Love, and fear not.
Be well, friends.
( The World Of Majic® theme outro)