Monday, September 05, 2005

Uncharitable thoughts...

I almost wrote about this last night, but stopped myself. I don't know how to say what I'm feeling without coming across as horrible selfish, and uncharitable. I will certainly make someone upset by what I am admitting here, yet I feel compelled to get this off my chest.

Today, we read news that most likely a large number of refugees will be brought to live at a closed down office warehouse/complex that is, quite literally, at the front of our neighborhood. These people will be within walking distance of my home. This complex is huge and has sat empty for close to 4 years now.

And, I will admit to you now, my first instinct when hearing this was to be scared. Before you flame me, I am not a racist or elitist in any way, so please let me explain myself. THEN, you can blast away!

I was concerned before they brought 15 thousand people to our Astrodome and even more to our city. At the same time, I told my husband THANK GOD the Astrodome is still there. I had, ironically, commented days before that it drove me crazy when huge places like that go out of business or are abandoned and they just sit there being unused. I mean, what a waste? And, so, genuinely, I feel it is a blessing from God that we have this facility here, as well as several others to help these poor people. It is as if God knew we'd need to use them one day and made sure they were still around for these poor people.

Here is the selfish me talking now too. The me-that-I-am-embarrassed-to-reveal has real worries now. Most of these people, from news reports it seems, are among the most poverty stricken, least educated of the people living in Louisiana. These are people who, when they were told it was a mandatory evacuation, went ahead and STAYED. This tells me that either they were too ill to leave, too elderly or weak, or they could not afford or did not have the sense to leave.

And, I'm deducing (perhaps incorrectly) that most likely, the people who might be brought to our neighborhood would be the most recent rescued. So, that means, these are people who have sat on their rooftops or God knows where for a full week, with no food, no help. If I sat on my rooftop with no one to help me, watching news choppers fly over and film me, I'd be pretty DAMN pissed at this world. And, then, to be plopped down in an office complex that sits right by a semi-upper class neighborhood...well, you draw your own conclusions here. I am a SAHM who lives on a street full of other SAHMs or everyone else works. I am here with my daughter all day. Alone. I don't set my alarm during the day.

What I worry about for our area, our fair city and state for that matter, is not what happens now. My heart warms as I hear of all my neighbors gathering together anything they have and donating their money to helping the refugees-turned-Texans. A friend at my church arranged a sandwich-making drive, making sack lunches for families staying in a nearby hotel. Another neighbor friend is collecting money for the Red Cross on her Labor Day weekend. These things are signs to me that God is working among us and they feel good to be a part of and see going on.

But, what happens in three months? What happens when Christmas rolls past us and January arrives? This is the time of year the charities really struggle. Everyone loses that giving Christmas cheer and closes their doors until the next year. What happens after that? Will these people be helped to find jobs? Will they stay here permanently because they don't have the money to return or have nothing to return to? Houston already has a significant poverty rate and homeless problems. Will they join these segments of society? What then happens to our crime rate? And how do we help people who have had SUCH a horrible thing happen to them--people who are angry at God and at our country for being so slow to rescue them--how do we help them start over AND keep our little world as safe as it was before they came here? And what about infectious diseases that may have come here with some of these poor people? How horrible am I, as a person, to have these thoughts after writing about how much I cried for these people only days ago--so wanting to go and help rescue them.

I will pray tonight for God to erase my selfish thoughts and fears. I will ask him to help me open my arms and help these people in the best way I can and to not expect the worse, but the best, in these circumstances. Everything must happen for a reason and maybe the reason this happened is to remind me that I am very blessed to have the life I have.

The more I think on this, the more I think that what can be taken away from all of this--my own personal message--is that there is not time in this world to get all self-absorbed by the fact that you have to prick your finger with a needle several times a day or take an extra pill to keep your body going. You don't have time for pity. You don't have time to ask, "Why me?" Because, tomorrow, the storm could be pounding down your door and you could be clinging to a rooftop with your kids asking for God to save you. Tomorrow, you could be plopped down in a strange new neighborhood with no friends, no family, and nowhere to go...and you could just be hoping that those neighbors wouldn't lock their doors or turn the other way if they saw you walking down their street....


Blogger Dipu said...

I wanna commend your raw honesty. It takes guts to write what you did. Certainly, some people could read only part of what you wrote, or misread it, and have a knee-jerk reaction. And yet I'm sure most of those people would have similar thoughts running through their heads, even though they'd be loathe to admit it.

I've known you for years, and I know you're not selfish, uncharitable, racist, or elitist. That doesn't mean every thought or feeling you have is all perfect and ideal either. You're human, and it's natural to worry about the unknown. And this is a huge unknown. For you, for them, for everyone.

What I hope people who read your entry see is that you have a good heart, and that you're admitting your fears but are resisting giving in to them. Some people would simply stay with their fears and lash out from that fear. Politics and society in general would be a lot more civil if people on both sides would stop shouting talking points and take a more introspective approach like you are.

8:51 PM, September 05, 2005  
Blogger MommaK said...

I can totally understand your fears. You do not seem selfish to me at all - just human.

Thanks for stopping by today. It's great to meet you:)

10:38 PM, September 05, 2005  
Anonymous irene said...

I don't know what I'd do if I were in your situation, but I've known you for a little while, and I know you're not selfish, and definitely not a racist. I think I understand your fears. they're human. and there's nothing illogical or horrible about spending your days making sandwiches and donating clothes to the victims, and then go home and lock the door of your house.

5:30 AM, September 06, 2005  
Blogger Suburban Turmoil said...

I understand what you're saying- but 99% of the time, our fears are worse than the reality. Give this situation time, check out the place if you can once the refugees are housed there (if that's the case) and some of your worries may be put to rest.

Good luck and keep us posted!

6:55 AM, September 06, 2005  
Blogger Crazy MomCat said...

Thanks for the words of support everyone. I already feel better even since writing this. I really know what is going on is the right thing, it is what Dipu said--fear of the unknown.

Our community email list has been filled with messages of volunteerism and then scattered with messages of fear like mine, even some messages that upset me because they were to the opposite extreme--blasting the victims. I guess fear of the unknown makes everyone react in a different way.

7:32 AM, September 06, 2005  

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