Saturday, September 24, 2005

Out of Darkness Comes Light

Finally a day with some cool weather. No rain to speak of from the Storm, just lots and lots of steady wind. Oddly enough it did feel like autumn, since we're already into our second day of it...supposedly. Nevertheless, it has been a very nice day here, much better than expected.

I have plenty to be thankful for. The day off we were given on Friday was a nice break. It allowed us students to volunteer at local shelters for those evacuating from the coastal regions. It also acted as a sort of second Saturday...three day weekends are always nice. That being said, after a productive day on Friday I've had a seriously lazy streak today. I haven't done much, but I'll get my act together for Monday. I moved the car from the Central campus garage this evening and couldn't help but notice the perfectly clear blue skies. It was about 7 p.m. when I passed by Kyle Field on my way to the Koldus garage, around the time the A&M football game was scheduled. It was perfect football weather, absolutely perfect fall weather. How ironic.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Hurricane Rita: Here We Go Again

What a half month makes...and doesn't. Still the same problems, albeit in new forms. People get stuck on freeways and roads for unacceptable periods of time...13 hours to go only 40 miles? One can walk faster than what these people have to their cars stall out on the road because they idle going nowhere burning gas while the other side of the miles and miles of freeway, the stretch of open pavement stands empty. Has Texas learned anything from Hurricane Katrina? What is with the city of Houston gloating that they were the "most prepared city" for a hurricane? What the hell? Most prepared? My rear! Ha! The haughtier they are, the harder they fall, I suppose. Houston plays itself as the Titanic of cities on the Gulf Coast, a coast that is so vulnerable---as we have come to so readily see---to the voracious hurricanes of the year 2005, that being Dennis, Katrina, and now Rita. They are the unsinkable ship that will be hit by the iceberg and sink to its inevitable death just like New Orleans has experienced with Hurricane Katrina.

Where was the Contraflow like was so well implemented out of New Orleans for Katrina? Why didn't Texas copy the one thing New Orleans and Louisiana DID DO RIGHT? Where the hell was Perry or White, for that matter, getting TXDOT to make Contraflow in place for a city at least twice the size of the entire New Orleans metro area??? Sure they evacuated the special needs with plenty of time to spare, as well as Galveston, but where was the gas when the people stranded ON the road to get them moving again and instead put these people in worse conditions of the road and then talk of "roadside shelters?" Are those even feasible? Are all political leaders incompetent or are just the one's in Texas, Louisiana, and Washington? Sure they have the food, ice, and medical supplies. But what about the means to GET THE PEOPLE OUT a city, which is the largest in terms of both area and population together in the ENTIRE NATION? Where there is the fourth largest city in the United States blocking the evacuation route for an entire city of some 100,000? Truly pathetic. Perry, White, and FEMA disgust me. This isn't a political party thing. It's a lack of common sense and leadership. This is what the problem is. I don't care if they are black, white, Hispanic, Republican, Democrat, Aggie, or non-Aggie. When there is incompetency, I will demand an answer. This sorry excuse for emergency preparedness sickens me in a way that is all too familiar and of which is totally and wholly unnecessary and uncalled for.

WAKE UP, AMERICA! Let's have some common sense in planning from now on!

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Forgiving the Unforgivable

Today, everyone knows, is September 11th. It's the fourth anniversary of the horrific World Trade Center/Pentagon attacks. It is an also important day. It is a day for us Americans to reflect on how we should treat the rest of world, including the Muslims both here and across the world. How should we as Christians act? I don't be cliché like, but what would Jesus do? I ask this honestly. Should we treat hate with equal if not greater hatred? The answer should be apparent to you. NO. Revenge is best served on a cold platter, but it is something that should be removed from our vocabulary. Revenge is not reserved for us. God did not give us our gifts here, our one's here on an Earthly loan for the duration our lifespan, for hatred and revenge. Those are not the actions of true Christians. When I see overly judgmental, the ones who judge to a fault, I cringe. This includes myself at times. What place do we have to chastise our brother or sister if our own sins equal if not surpass our fellow brother or sister?

Take for instance the Gospel reading for Friday, September 9th:
Jesus told his disciples a parable:
“Can a blind person guide a blind person?
Will not both fall into a pit?
No disciple is superior to the teacher;
but when fully trained,
every disciple will be like his teacher.
Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye,
but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own?
How can you say to your brother,
‘Brother, let me remove that splinter in your eye,’
when you do not even notice the wooden beam in your own eye?
You hypocrite! Remove the wooden beam from your eye first;
then you will see clearly
to remove the splinter in your brother’s eye.”

--Luke 6:39-42


Another pertinent Bible passage on how we should handle hatred is the first reading from this Sunday's mass, of September 11th:
Wrath and anger are hateful things,
yet the sinner hugs them tight.
The vengeful will suffer the Lord’s vengeance,
for he remembers their sins in detail.
Forgive your neighbor’s injustice;
then when you pray, your own sins will be forgiven.
Could anyone nourish anger against another
and expect healing from the Lord?
Could anyone refuse mercy to another like himself,
can he seek pardon for his own sins?
If one who is but flesh cherishes wrath,
who will forgive his sins?
Remember your last days, set enmity aside;
remember death and decay, and cease from sin!
Think of the commandments, hate not your neighbor;
remember the Most High’s covenant, and overlook faults.

--Sirach 27:30-28:7


How more true can this be? Hate not your neighbor. That's every neighbor, not just our Christian brothers. Do not cherish wrath as the others do, rather cherish love. Cherish God in all his glory.

May God give rest and repose to the victims of September 11th and strength of spirit to the their families on this difficult day. Amen.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Silver Taps

What a roller coaster of a time. One day I'm feeling on top of the world, the next I'm in the trash heap. What honestly gives? Silver Taps was tonight, Brian's Silver Taps. I felt so disconnected with the so many other Silver Taps I have attended over the past two years because I felt that I should know something more about those I come to commemorate.

Well, I know for a fact now that knowing them doesn't help any either. It allows the opening of old wounds, letting them fester in the harsh reality that is life now. I couldn't help but feel Brian's presence there. It was as if he was there still, like my first semester where he was directing our small games group for TAGD telling me not to worry. All I kept hearing was "Don't worry." The sounds of sirens blared in the background as we awaited the arrival of the Ross Volunteers. The sirens reminded me of those that I'm sure were present after Brian's wreck on Highway 6. The sirens came and went, but my replaying of the events around the time of his death only continued to bother me. I remember the wreck each time I drive that stretch of road. I will always have that on my mind. I just wish this was all a bad dream, and that I could wake up knowing it wasn't true.

But, it is true and that is something we all have to accept in the end. For we pray in the Lord's Prayer: "Thy will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven." Plain and simple. His will is His will, come what may His will will be done. Nothing will change that.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

"I Still Heart New Orleans"

Today's daily mass reading that, although not originally meant for the victims of Hurricane Katrina, certainly now fits. May we do God's will in our actions and pray that God grant us the strength to persevere.

Brothers and sisters:
From the day we heard about you, we do not cease praying for you and asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of God’s will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, so as to be fully pleasing, in every good work bearing fruit and growing in the knowledge of God, strengthened with every power, in accord with his glorious might, for all endurance and patience, with joy giving thanks to the Father, who has made you fit to share in the inheritance of the holy ones in light. He delivered us from the power of darkness and transferred us to the Kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

--Colossians 1:9-14 NAB