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Thursday, May 5, 2011

Real life or reel life?

Last week tornadoes roared through about a quarter of the country leaving chaos in their wake. On Friday William, heir to the British throne, married his true love, Kate. Late Sunday night our president took the podium to announce that public enemy #1 had been killed in Pakistan by the good guys. The news coverage of the wedding and the killing were exhaustive and exhausting. With the media coverage of the wedding we were subjected to replays of the wedding that began the disastrous marriage of William's parents, and media coverage of the untimely death of his mother, complete with scenes from her memorial service. The death of bin Laden was accompanied by the too familiar images of the towers coming down,and the grief of the survivors. Footage from 2001 was interspersed with innumerable current interviews about "closure" with survivors of those lost on 9/11. Finally, bin Laden's burial at sea. It was truly overwhelming.

The tornadoes got the least coverage. No regular programming was interrupted to share the news of the death and destruction left in the wake of the tornadoes. Nobody important was much affected by it.

Yesterday I sat and chatted with a young man who is a student at the University of Alabama. He saw the tornado, he saw the destruction, and most of all, he saw the people. He described what remains of Tuscaloosa, (not much, by the way). And he told me about crossing the river to another town where there was still power but returning to sleep in a dormitory with no electricity and taking a shower in the pitch black of that dorm. He said he and his friends wanted to help, but they didn't really know what to do. So as he walked around and looked at what the storm had done, he helped people, mostly elderly, make calls from his cell phone to let their 'folks' know they had survived. Then, he packed up his dorm room, loaded his vehicle and made the 12-hour drive home.

He's young, and his thoughts rambled all over the place:
  • He has a lot of questions about what will happen to the people of Tuscaloosa.
  • He could see the silver lining of a week's head start competing for summer jobs in a bad economy.
  • He's not having any nightmares, but life is a little more precious - at least 8 fellow students died in the tornadoes.
My thoughts are rambling all over the place too. I wonder about:
  • the media obsession with celebrity;
  • our lack of regard for "ordinary" victims,
  • revenge.
And I have a lot of gratitude:
  • for the resilience of people, especially young people;
  • for the people who were spared;
  • for all those who have reached out a hand to help someone else;
  • and that my young friend is safely in the bosom of his family.
Lord in Your mercy:
Hear our prayer.

1 comment:

BusyTraveler said...

Julie,
Thank you for putting some perspective on these recent events. I, too, have been overwhelmed with various emotions, too much information, and/or anger.
Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer!