IMG_7582It is traditional to read the Book of Lamentations on the 9th day of the 5th Hebrew month, known as the month of Av. The book recounts the horror associated with the destruction of the author’s city. As I do every year on this day, I read this book associated with calamities, but today it took on a special significance as I considered the vast and utter destruction in and around my own area. The horrors of the book took on a new meaning as I considered the destruction that struck many Louisiana communities on the 9th of Av, even leaving members of my own family homeless. I took notes as I read, and felt the need to share.

Indeed, how lonely sits the city once great with people. Displaced from their homes, many families are seeking shelter wherever they can find a place that can, and will take them in. The streets are all but empty. Curfews are in place and many roadways have become impassable.

Countless people remain trapped, waiting to be saved. Rescue and emergency personnel are overwhelmed, unable to help the multitudes of helpless.

Bitterly they weep in the night. Mothers, sickened by the loss of all that was once their home, helplessly wondering what the future holds. There will be no rest tonight for the mothers who are utterly disconsolate. At this moment, there is none to help, none to comfort.

The residents sigh as they search for bread. Store shelves are empty. There is no bread. Many cannot even reach stores to buy. Many have no way to make purchases. There are few to help, because all are broken. Even those who stretch forth the hand of charity, are themselves hurting.

For these things I weep; my eyes flow with tears. Far from all of us seems the comforter. The silent sighs can be heard by those who have the ears to hear. The hearts are sick, all eyes are spent with tears, and sleep escapes the weary and the weather worn.

Ruin and devastation fill the streets and neighborhoods where children once played. Toys float swiftly in the fast moving current that moves unrestrained into a vast sea of sadness.

Dwelling in darkness, and bereft of peace, they have forgotten what happiness is, and wonder if ever they will recall. Gone is the joy of hearts; all dancing has turned to mourning.

Hope. Hope is all that they have left. Kindness. The kindness of strangers and the sacrifice of the caring is the only remedy. As the waters continue to rise, and nightfall comes, the forlorn pray that the waters will soon subside and that very soon, a rainbow will appear in the sky.

Pray for the broken hearted as Louisiana laments on the 9th of Av.