Saturday, September 02, 2006

Katrina-after a year & a bit

Over the past couple of weeks as August came to an end there has been a lot of media coverage discussing the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and what had and hadn’t been done to help people put their lives back together.

Linda focused on the TV reports and I watched some of that –but a lot of my update on “Life after Katrina” came by following the blogs of John Dobbs –Out Here Hope Remains and Dee Andrews – The Wind Vane Chronicles.

John’s posts on August 29 , August 27 and August 25 give a good perspective on what it has been like on the Gulf Coast and some of the “lessons learned”- However the one that touched me the most was Looking up for Hope posted August 30 2006.

If you look at the slideshow of pictures you will see one with a Canadian flag—That was Linda’s handiwork -something we left as a piece of us to thank the people at Central for giving us this opportunity to serve. I want to share my comment to John regarding that posting “JD - Tell Jeff – Thanks for the ceiling tiles. It brought tears to our eyes as the memories flooded back as we watched the slide show I pray we can find away to return but for now it looks as if God is leading in another direction. Perhaps he will open a door that we haven't yet seen”

I also noted this from John’s post this Friday “Robbie Woods was helping out around the church yesterday and put together a filing cabinet I had bought for my office”. It so good to know that Robbie is still “walking with God”—We had the privilege of having him share with us his story about a ”wasted” life that led to a loss of every thing important to him, about the way he had encountered Jesus and had been brought to his knees. He was baptized around the time we were there and he was such an encouragement as you could almost see daily ”spurts” in the “transformation” that came from a “new life’ (Romans 12:2).

Robbie had a gift of making things from palm fronds.We have a rose and a cross that he made on display in the “BBB” as a reminder of him and all of the people we met in Pascagoula. John informed me in an email that they are hopeful that Robbie will soon be able to return to a ”regular ”job. We pray for this and his continued faithfulness to God.

Dee has also talked often about how Katrina had changed so many lives including hers. On August 25 she posted a blog describing what she was doing and feeling at that time in 2005. She had intended to continue the ”retrospective” for several days but by August 28 she had decided that it was better to look forward-to move on rather than reliving the pain of the past year.

She wrote in part “I do not want my life so tied to the past that I cannot see the present or the future. Many people do that, I think. In their need to remember, not forget, they embrace the loss so fiercely they become entangled in it. It ensnares them, robbing them of any further joy in life. I'm not discounting or dismissing loss and sorrow by any means. I have been - at times - consumed by loss and sorrow. We all have. As the young minister so eloquently and powerfully expressed it yesterday in both sermons, if we love, we can be - will be - tragically struck and burned with "rivets of grief," as can God. (He told me last night he'd borrowed it from a much older minister, but that's good I think. Beautiful imagery and he used it well.) But we scar up. We heal. We go on. We must not let the wounds fester so that we are immersed by them.”

My comment on that post was as follows

“Dee - I have tried to apply something I heard in "management training" that seemed very spiritual (although I never tried to see if I could support the thought from the Bible)

Anyhow --it seems to say something similar to what you have said here.

We should let our "vision" of the future shape our actions. Rather than - as we so often do --dragging the "past into the present" we should put the past into the past and draw the future back into the present.

Maybe better way to say it is "Live your dreams today" rather than (re)living the pain (and mistakes) of the past.

Thanks for the reminder that life is ahead - not behind -- and God is there showing the way.”

I share these thoughts for 2 reasons- one being that it has amazed me that 3 weeks of work –a mere drop in the ocean of what needed to be done - was enough to make a lasting impression on our lives-indeed we have been blessed more by giving than anything we could receive – and we have received so much more than we gave – we have friends, we have memories, we have an increased sense of God’s presence “in the storms of our lives” (see the “I” of the storm).

The second reason is hope that the faith and servant’s heart that is shown by these people might touch others and encourage more to go to ”receive the blessing of giving”

God Bless
Charlie & Linda

2 comments:

Dee O'Neil Andrews said...

Hey, Charlie -

Wow! I feel so blessed this afternoon that you've put together such an excellent post and used some of my words in doing so. I'm greatly honored.

Actually - I've just come by while working on my new blogsite (for reference, found at "Finding Direction: The New Wind Vane Chronicles", where all of my previous posts in Blogger are also "up and readable" there) to add you "officially" as a link. So, I hope that is okay with you.

I can't tell you how much I appreciate your kinds words about me here today and in your great comments you are always leaving at Finding Direction, both old and new. (I think "new," but can't at the moment remember if you've commented there or not. I just "opened" it Friday.

Anyway - it is fellow Christians such as you who uplift me and all of us here in Katrina Zone and HAVE uplifted us for the past "year & a bit." Workers from other places are beginning to tire of coming down and their number is dwindling.

Meanwhile, there are still so many fellow Christians and even a greater number of others, includng our best friends, who are still in FEMA trailers and far from moving back into their homes or other homes.

This is a good post. Thank you, neighbor!!

JD said...

Thank you, Charlie and Linda, for your wonderful heart ... and your service ... we have a kinship that goes beyond Katrina. And I am thankful that God led us into the same path, if only for a few weeks.