Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Surviving vs. Living

A brief note from Kat: I did an interview with a woman that really touched my heart last week. The story I wrote for the paper can be found on the Norfolk Daily News Web site. This post is written in response to that interview.
I should have been offended.
While paying for a meal at a local pizza restaurant several months ago, the owner and I became distracted by the news channel offering reports of another politician entangled in a sex scandal.

“Reporters, I swear, they’re the biggest scum of the earth,” he said.

At first I bit my lip, but when the pressure of restrained laughter rattled open my clenched jaw, he asked why I thought that was so funny.

Of all the strangers coming into this man’s restaurant, he had to mutter his opinion to a reporter.

Watching the way this particular news channel air this politician’s dirty laundry ad nauseum, I couldn’t disagree with the gist of his statement. But I didn’t want to fall into that generalized “scum” category either.

Contrary to popular thought, (most) reporters (all of them at the Daily News) do have feelings. Remember Walter Cronkite’s tears when Kennedy died?

We try not to show them. We try to be tough and present unbiased facts in news stories, but sometimes feelings aren’t so easily held back.

Interviewing Katrina
last week, my feelings got in the way. Sobbing throughout most of the interview, she made the desperation she felt for her family’s situation clear.

Christmas wasn’t Katrina's concern. Survival was.

Imagine standing in her shoes.

Whatever savings you may have had were depleted when surgery removed your ability to work. Your spouse, who has been eking out just enough money at his new job to take care of your family of six, suddenly finds himself a victim of the economic downturn. Unable to receive unemployment, you swallow your pride and visit the Department of Health and Human Services to see if they can provide assistance. Returning from the trip, the only reliable means of transportation you have is totalled in an accident, and insurance offers no help on a vehicle with negative equity.

What do you do? Where do you turn? How do you put food on your table? Pay for heat and electricity?

How do you tell your youngest child – who turns six on Christmas Day – that Santa can’t make it and mommy and daddy can’t afford a birthday gift either?

Katrina’s description – a living nightmare – couldn’t have been more accurate.

As a reporter, it’s difficult to get through an interview like this and not shed tears. I wanted to reach out and help.
Hopefully, there are people out there who will read Katrina’s story and feel the same way.

You don’t have to step too far outside your back door to find other families struggling for survival the same way the Ostrand family is.

Those people are in your town.
Right in your back yard.
They need help. They need prayers. And they need to know they have not been forgotten.


Anonymous said...

Amen, Sister! I always say, "Why do we have to do missions in Africa, or wherever, when there are needs in our own backyard."

Yes, there are needs everywhere, but we must open our eyes to what's around us.

Thanks. I'm gonna buzz on over to norfolk daily news web and see the story.

Thanks for this post.

Betty said...

Great Post Kat! And great article! I agree these people need our help. We need to help each other out, after all we never know when we would be the ones in that situation.