This morning Marlene and I paid our weekly visit to the Oak Park Farmers Market. While Marlene was standing by a table, waiting to buy fresh corn, a woman I have never met came up and started talking to me. Behind the table a man was in the back of a truck, unloading fresh ears of corn. The woman looked at the crowd of people waiting to buy corn and said, "These people are waiting to buy corn, but in New Orleans people wait for a drop of fresh water." She said that someone else had commented it almost made you feel guilty to be at the Farmers Market on such a beautiful morning, in the midst of such abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables when we have been watching scenes of suffering on TV all week long. We don't have to feel guilty, the woman said, but we ought to be grateful to God for his blessings and not take them for granted. Life is so short. Ten days ago they were partying on Bourbon Street. Today the city is a soggy, dirty, garbage-strewn ghost town. Ten days ago the people of New Orleans were like the people of Oak Park. They were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, buying and selling, and doing all the things that people do, little knowing that a massive hurricane would soon change their lives forever. The woman said that it could happen here just like it happened there. We must not take life for granted. And we must remember those who have lost so much. It is not wrong to enjoy your blessings because everything is life is temporary. Enjoy them, but do not depend on them. What is given today may be taken tomorrow. God speaks through the disasters of life if only we will heed his voice.
The woman said she had a magazine I might like to read. Turns out she was a Jehovah's Witness. She gave me the magazine, smiled and wished me a good day, and went on her way.
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