b Cheri LeBlanc, MD: Katrina - Lessons learned?

Monday, August 28, 2006

Katrina - Lessons learned?

It's been a year from Katrina. I can't watch the TV. Too many pictures bringing back too many memories that are still fresh like yesterday. Too many people giving advise on what we should have learned from this devastation. What does God want us to have learned from this? That is the only question that should matter.

So much pain, so much loss. And I was just one of the many who tried to help, I didn't loose anything; I can't imagine how those who lost dear ones or their homes have felt. But God doesn't waste one single tear; there is a lesson to learn from everything we go through.

Where are the people that I met in those first few days after Katrina:

That young lady who was a diabetic and had not eaten in 2 days, blood sugar was extremely high, and I fussed her for not taking care of herself. As I gave her a shot of insulin, she looked at me and with tears in her eyes told me that her 2 year old son was at her mother's house down the street when the levee broke and the waters flooded the streets. Now 2 days later, she didn't know if he or her mother was alive. I repented to her and God on the spot; I could not have eaten, either. Do we ever know the full story of why people act the way they do? God does. Was her child and mother found alive? Where is she now?

In the New Orleans airport 5 days after the storm as it was being used as a triage and evacuation center I was able to go with the second team of volunteers. We were there all Saturday night. The baggage claim area was being used to keep people who had been processed, had already received medical attention and were waiting for the next plane out. This is where the helicopters that had plucked people off of roofs were being taken. There are not enough words to describe that scene.

One lady had been in a wheelchair for 5 days. Had not been able to get out of it even for 'bodily functions'. She was 85 years old. As we removed her from the wheelchair, cleaned her with baby wipes, rubbed her legs to try to stretch them out, and lie her on a cot, she cried, not from pain, but because we were helping her. Where is she now?

Another elderly lady with one leg previously amputated was lying in her own filth for days. Her husband was nearby, handicapped himself and unable to care for her. As we cleaned her up, she thanked us. I asked if we could pray for her and she warmly agreed. She bowed her head, and then looked at me and said, "Jesus has a place for me". I thought she meant that He knew where they would be taken to and they would be cared for since they were going to be on the next plane. But as I lied her back down, she went limp in my arms and died. After having spent days in misery she died just hours before being in comfort. I know where she is, but where is her husband that was married to her for 47 years?

What is God's lesson? It is a lesson for those who experienced Katrina, those who helped with the relief, and for all who watched it on TV. Are we closer to Jesus now that we were a year ago? Our lesson is to learn to rely on God. This is the only thing that matters. This world is not our home, it is just a temporary dwelling while we wait for our eternal home.

I pray a special blessing on all those who suffered loss last year in Katrina. I pray that they are all closer to Jesus and are enjoying the comfort of His presence.


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