Driving up to Michigan Ren this weekend I had my ipod on random play. Given my obscure tastes the music covered a fairly wide spectrum from Thomas Dolby to Mozart. But somewhere south of Detroit Moby's "God moved on the surface of the water" came up.
I had used this music for the video slideshow of our volunteer work in Biloxi and New Orleans last year. I realized that it was just over a year ago that Katrina hit and things went terribly wrong down there on so many levels. Due to work, I didn't see any of the tv retrospectives, but I also turned off the radio, and avoided the paper. In short, I subconsciously blocked the date out.
My brother has sent me several articles about New Orleans but I haven't read them. I haven't visited the websites for Common Ground and Hands on USA, the groups we worked with in quite a while.
Didn't I care anymore?
But as I drove down the road I found myself crying almost uncontrollably. The same feelings I had when I sat watching the Gulf coast be destroyed were bubbling up. The same sense of powerlessness. The same anger, the same frustration I felt at being unable to figure out some way ANY way to fix it somehow. To make it better. It's those feelings that I had been trying to avoid, because they utterly destroy me every time.
I pulled myself together to handle the Mad Max rush that is Detroit traffic and by the time I got to the Michigan Renfair site I was feeling better. I still had the heavy feeling in my chest. If I hadn't heard that song I would have felt a lot better, but sometimes we need to remind ourselves of life's tragedies. They define us, they drive us. They slap us across the face and yell at us to wake up and pay attention to the bigger world around us, to do something. Even if it makes you feel like you got kicked in the chest.