Our minds are all occupied today with New Orleans, Biloxi, Gulfport. We watch the news channels non-stop; hoping/wishing/praying that we will wake up and find it was a bad dream.
It is times like these when I become really introspective. I tend to sit back, and take a complete inventory of my life. And I inevitably realize how truly fortunate I am.
As I write this, my house is clean, and whole, and dry. My carpets are not soggy with floodwater, and my floors are safe to walk on. The walls are not full of slime; the mattresses on the beds are not full of water; our furniture is dry, and comfortable to sit upon. The electricity is on, the cable is functioning, the phone lines are working, cell service is normal, and the water that runs from the taps is clear and safe to drink, safe to bathe in. The central air-conditioning unit whirs outside my window, keeping us cool.
Our cats are sleeping, each on his or her favorite windowsill. Our cars are parked in the driveway, each with a tank full of gas, ready to go wherever we need them to take us. This afternoon, the mail carrier will put the mail into the mailbox at the curb, and tonight the street lights will turn on, and illuminate the sidewalks that wend through our neighborhood. Friends and neighbors will walk their dogs, walk themselves, watch the sunset.
The Wrench will leave for work in a few hours. He doesn't have to worry if his job is still there, if the building he works in is still there. It is. The public schools opened their doors this morning as usual here; the hospitals and clinics are open and functioning fine. Down at the fire station, our first responders are washing the fire trucks and the ambulance this morning. At the grocery store, it is business as usual.
Our house stands solid, and whole, and clean in the late August sunshine.
Today my gratitude is in the shape of a house. My house. An everyday, ordinary house. Right now there are about a million people in our country (maybe more) who had these same things just days ago. Today they are huddled in hot, damp, airless shelters with no electricity. They are clinging to roofs while floodwater swirls below them. They are trapped in attics, or under debris. Some have evacuated to locations hundreds of miles away, only to watch helplessly as their cities and their homes were rendered worthless by a storm named Katrina. In the space of a day, they have no homes to go home to. There is no place to go to work; no school, no stores, no hospitals. There is only muddy brown water, or the shattered remains of their previous existence.
Today my gratitude is in the shape of my house.
Please donate to the Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund: dial 1-800-HELP-NOW