One of my Saturday rituals (while PH is off bicycling 50 plus miles - yes, he is insane) is to go to the Farmer's Market, and then to the supermarket, for our week's food.
The Farmer's Market is in our town's courthouse parking lot, and has a little over a dozen vendors, mostly truck farmers from the outer counties of Northern Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Maryland. It's beautiful, food - fruits, veggies, dairy products - many organic. It's not inexpensive, but the flavor is awesome.
The supermarket is bright, full of great food, including very fresh seafood. I use my little clipped coupons to keep the cost down.
I usually love this experience. I've done a menu for the week, planned my shopping, more or less, and can do it efficiently in 90 minutes for the two stops.
Today it was depressing. That old Catholic guilt hit me, as I took note of the ease with which I can feed my family healthy food. In my head, a videotape keeps running of desperately poor people in the heat, with nothing to eat and no place safe to sleep. I know that the National Guard is in New Orleans and Biloxi and Mobile now, bringing food and water and moving people to safer venues, but I keep thinking of what these people went through, particularly the youngest and the oldest of them, and my heart breaks for them.
Am I the only person who thought it ironic and unsurprising that the only survivors who had a photo op with the President were white, cleaned up, cleared by the Secret Service?
The Washington Post quoted one of the New Orleans survivors as saying "black people must be marked in some way" to have such horror visited upon them. The heart breaks once again.
So, as I stood in line to pay for my groceries, I picked up one of the "donate $5 to the American Red Cross" slips and added it to my pile of goods - we had already made a larger donation to Episcopal Relief and Development (www.er-d.org) for the victims of Katrina, and felt slightly disgusted with myself that I wasn't doing more.
Dear Lord, help me never to forget those who are hurting in body and in spirit. Help me find the resources within myself to do more, to leave my comfortable world, to not delegate to others the work I should do myself. help me to look at the hard pictures. Let me never turn away from the hurt, so I remember to help Your children. Amen.