Monday, March 11, 2013

Pictures in the Mud

When Hurricane Sandy unleashed her force on Atlantic coastlines, and particularly New Jersey and New York states, there was much media coverage of the destruction and several heart-breaking stories that arose. Mike Charko read one of the stories regarding a woman who lost her Staten Island home and caught the inspiration for a song. Mike and I wrote and recorded the song over the next few weeks.

Pictures in the Mud
(Lyrics and music by Mike Charko and Keith Shields; SOCAN 2013)
(Listen while you read the lyrics)

The brutal winds have torn
Her life across the field
The pictures that she owned
Are buried in the mud
She’s weeping for her home

The treasures of her life
Are scattered miles away
Her mother’s wedding ring
Lost in the debris
The storm has taken everything

She knew it was coming
Hell’s driving rain
Now standing alone
Her world is washed away

Living there for 30 years   
Raising kids alone
She is uninsured
Where can she go?
Her cries have not been heard

Politicians claim
The homeless will be helped
They pitch a bag of sand
As the cameras roll
There are no helping hands

She knew it was coming
Hell’s driving rain
Now standing alone
Her world is washed away

A mother to us all
The firemen will declare
Church bells have been rung
There is hope in the pain
She feels the love of a son

How can she pass on
Her memories to her kids
She saved them through the years
Now they're in the mud
Her stories will disappear

She knew it was coming
Hell’s driving rain
Now standing alone
Her world is washed away

How can she live with this
Injustice and pain
These troubles haunt her every day?
One day you'll understand
The trials you've been through
Until that day we'll walk with you

She knew it was coming
Hell’s driving rain
Now standing alone
Her world is washed away

The song points to the feelings one person experienced as she suffered through this natural disaster. It focuses on her loss. What kind of human compassion can she expect as she deals with her sudden homelessness? Who will walk with her through this time? The answers are complicated.

The situation is not without hope. There are examples of people who have helped with the plight of those who lost everything. One church that has helped with the cleanup in New Jersey is the North Jersey Vineyard Church . This church was part of the initial relief efforts as the fire department set up a station where people could go to get immediate assistance. Now several months later this church continues to send out teams of people to help with cleanup efforts. In the midst of disaster these people have reached out with hope and helping hands.

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