During the past couple of weeks, like many millions of other people around the world I spent a lot of time watching the horrific events taking place in New Orleans, Louisiana, unable and unwilling to believe that what I was seeing was actually taking place in the United States of America.

And though we often forget most big disasters after just a few weeks, I think that people will be talking about the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina for a long time to come.

Like many other people, as the disaster unfolded, I assumed that because this was happening in the United States, the rescuing response would be very swift and very well organized. And it wasn’t.

Whenever a big tragedy of this magnitude occurs, whether in the United States or elsewhere in the world, many people will find themselves re-examining how they live, and perhaps examining some of their most basic beliefs about what is truly important

During the week that stranded evacuees waited in heat and filth, desperate for water and food, while others drowned in their own homes as the water levels rose, it really hit me as I thought to myself, Tonight I am in my own home in a safe city. No one I care about is missing. Anytime today that I wanted a drink of water, it was there. The air smelled good. I wan’t afraid. I had food to eat.

This tragedy reminds us that our real needs as human beings are so simple. And when our basic needs are met, our minds get restless and our minds start inventing other needs for us. A new car. More money. A bigger house. A different couch. But these aren’t really needs, these are simply desires, wishes, preferences. Most of the time we forget the difference between our needs and our desires.

On television I saw one family who had nothing left to call home but a mattress on the floor in the basement of a church, but they were some of the happiest people I had ever seen. Happy because they were alive, and they were together and they had hope.

The crisis in New Orleans reminded us again, of what our basic needs are. Food to eat when we are hungry and water to drink when we are thirsty. Being able to live down at night in a safe place. A sweet breath of fresh air.

Being with the people we care about, and people who care about us. Being part of a community where we have value and dignity. Having someone to look after us when we

As the aftermath of the hurricane in New Orleans shows us, even our most basic needs are not guaranteed to always be there. If you have food to eat today, and clean water, and a safe place to live with your loved ones, you’re lucky, and not just lucky in a superficial way. Every day that you get up and your basic needs are met, it is a gift to you, a miracle.

Author's Bio: 

Royane Real is the author of several self help books available at her website. Read many more life affirming and self help articles at her new site at http://www.royane.com