In eleven days I will go to New Orleans, board a plane and go to Manhattan. This will be my eighth trip to NYC for the weekend-before-Thanksgiving. In the past, I've gone to shop, see shows and eat. This year, I'm going to get the heck-fire* out of Life Behind the Razor Wire**.
It is hard work living on the Coast***. Life returns to normal, if at all, very slowly these days. We have debris piles in front of our home. The LH has a hideous temporary office since his beautiful office blew away down to the brick pilings. Everywhere I drive, I see evidence of the misery of post-Katrina life. I teeter between hope and despair every day. I don't mean my peace of heart, I mean I swing timidly between hope for the Coast and our lives here and despair that we will ever re-build this community in ways that allow a good future.
I hear heart wrenching stories everyday. I watch people throw their shoulders back insisting that they are "fine". I see the exhaustion on my friend's faces as they wait for insurance adjusters, wait for construction teams, wait to see if they have enough money to rebuild.
I suppose Advent will have a new edge this year. A season of waiting for the birth of Jesus the season means a great deal to me. For years, I related Advent to the waiting of Mary for the birth of Jesus and my own waiting for a child. Then I related Advent to the waiting for a "new creation" in the world to be born in the birth of Jesus. Preaching Advent is my favorite liturgical season. I know something about waiting. I know about living between promise and fulfillment; living between now and not yet.
But heck fire rats!****, I didn't anticipate this kind of waiting or this kind of fighting it out with the Hope within me. They say it isn't what happens to us but what we do with what happens to us. I'd like to say I'm doing this well.
I may have to put aside my desire for successful living and instead hold onto God's hand through these kind of days. I've done this before and found God a good companion when life stinks. Hold on to me as I hold on to you, God, until you bless me.
I feel like bursting into tears at least once each day. I'm weary of this feeling.
Patty and I are going to NYC. This is my annual girl trip, no boys allowed, although Mr. C would enjoy the City. Patty and I travel well together and have been on several trips over the years. We are on the same emotional roller coaster so I suppose we will comfort each other over chopped liver at a deli; while we stroll around Barney's and at the theater. I will tell her, as I do every year, that I'm not sure I can sit long enough to watch a Broadway play. She'll say that if I want to leave, it's ok with her. Then I'll settle down and watch the stage.
I won't shop as wildly as I have in the past. Not that I was blowing money around in the big stores. The flea markets and second-hand shops are my favorites anyway. This year I will consider how my finances have changed and be circumspect about spending. I have enough money to have a delightful time anyway. I'll just not be loading up as I have on past trips.
I'm ready to leave right now.
Have a Good Sunday, y'all,
*Appropriate cussing from preacher, cf. Preacher's Guide to Bad Language, 1974. CrabApple Press.
**We live north of the tracks. South of the tracks is fenced off with coils of razor wire and check points are policed by National Guard personnel.
***Please pronounce the word "hard" as your President did during the second debate of 2004.
****Emphatic version of "heck fire". Use of "rats" as an expletive explained in the renowned Backyard OED of Kiln, Mississippi, Vol.4, 1991. Beezus Press. Kiln.