Prayers needed for the suffering

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 7, 2005

There comes a point where you just can’t watch anymore.

A point where the pictures of devastation and pain are simply too hard to bear.

Trying to comprehend the magnitude of the disaster that has taken place in since Katrina passed through the Southern United States is like trying to count the raindrops she left in her wake.

Where do we start?

Death is widespread in the Gulf States. Bodies float in the water and rest on street corners.

Residents shoot at each other and fight over food and water as if it were the last thing worth fighting for in the world. And for many residents of Mississippi and Louisiana, simple nourishment really is all they have to live for.

What is going to happen?

Worries about gas prices have subsided these past few weeks as people start to worry whether they will have gas at all.

There’s concern over the economic impact that this storm brings to the many exported and imported goods which travel through the harbors of the Gulf Coast each day.

What can we do?

The help and support for the victims of hurricane Katrina has been overwhelming.

Across the United States, people are holding canned food drives and collecting money at Friday night football games.

It seems that every church, every fire and police department and every community is trying to do what they can.

So why do we still feel like it’s not enough?

I spent the majority of this past week examining the impact that Hurricane Katrina has had on the Shelby County area. I talked to hurricane refugees and rescue workers, donors and rescue aid collectors.

Every time I came in contact with one of these people I asked the question that has been pulling at the hearts of millions of Americans since Katrina hit – What can I do?

You’ve donated to the Red Cross. You’ve volunteered to give blood at a local drive. Your children are collecting money around school. But for some reason, you feel like you should be doing more.

I think a lot of us can say we’re in the same boat.

During the past week, I’ve tried to understand what the best way is for me to do my part.

During that time, I’ve found a common theme amid the rescuers and the rescued – prayer.

All the money, food and water in the world is not going to bring back the lost lives and way of life that were washed away by Katrina.

The emotional strain that people are enduring on the gulf coast right now, I believe, is what is hardest for us to take.

I encourage you to take a moment each day, as you have the opportunity to look at the pictures hung on the walls in your home, visit with loved ones and enjoy each other’s company and pray for those who are less fortunate.

Less fortunate because, for them, that picture is nothing more than a memory and those loved ones are still missing.

Say a prayer for the people of Louisiana, Mississippi and South Alabama this week.

Hopefully the knowledge that millions of people are keeping them in their thoughts will be even a small help as they begin to try and rebuild their broken lives.

Brandon Gresham serves as staff writer at the Shelby County Reporter. He can be reached at