Rubble and bleeding brown skin hits close to home for me. Horrible images and horrible sympathy for my students. A good many of my students fell into the socieo-economic group whose only recourse was to hope for a spot in the super dome, during Katrina. I was already back at college in Pennsylvania. My parents easily escaped. But some of my students stayed and saw horrible things. Some did horrible things.
I'm thinking of one of my students who saw a murderer killed in the super dome. He remembers how the M16s tore through the body. He was about eleven.
My family didn't have the easiest time either. 9 feet of water in St. Benard Parish. Never saw that house again. By the time I got back, it was swept away by organizations, mostly christian.
In post-Katrina New Orleans, things are better? That student has had more than one gun in his face for bicycles or ipods.
I don't see my job as easy, either. I often don't feel that I'm doing all that good. That I'm just putting out fires, one after another in the inner city classroom.
I hate the first noble truth. I've always been told that hate is the only real sin in Buddhism, if there are any, and I hate that I can't get past my own karma to help others. My body is moving, it looks like I'm helping, but I know I'm thinking, "Somebody needs to help me!"
I also suspect that knowing hate is wrong isn't enough. There's nothing to read or hear to realize that.
It feels rather childish. Like it's time to share my snack and I don't want to.
I want to feel empathy, real empathy. I'm just not open to it right now. I know I'll donate to the red cross, I know that Haiti needs help, and I'll give what I can, but what if I know that I'm not really feeling anything?
What should it feel like, anyway?