Sunday, November 06, 2005

Early Sunday Morning

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,
St. Casserole

*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.


annie said...

Having grown up with expressions like "heck-fire" (and dang it)I love your explanation of the language.

Enjoy your trip in an even more special way this year and may God strengthen your spirit while you are away. Lord knows you will need the extra strength for some time to come.

I think that is one of the most dangerous things to see, people saying they are "fine, just fine" while they work their way through dealing with insurance adjusters, FEMA, the debris piles as well as their own personal losses.

My heart goes out to the people of the Mississippi Gulf Coast. They, like the residents of Cameron Parish, are hard-working people who have had their lives turned inside out by these storms and they are still having their lives turned inside out in trying to figure out if they will be able to rebuild...and life does not stop while they are trying to get all these extra things done.

And the added insult to injury (in my opinion) is the fact that the media acts like the city of New Orleans was the only area devastated by these storms.

Ah well, hang in there St C. It's hard, and it is no fun, what you are experiencing, having to craft a "new normal" but by the grace of God, you will walk through this trial (and I know you know that, so I feel a little silly saying it to you).

Friday Mom said...

It takes courage to keep going under such circumstances, even if it feels like you have no choice. Glad you can get away to enjoy a weekend away from the Razor wire.

Blessings and hugs!

David said...

You must be an excellent preacher. Your thoughts today echo profoundly with me. What you have observed and what you are experienced is the prevailing temperament these days.
I hope you have a BLAST in NYC, dang it! Let me know about the coffee club!

Songbird said...

How wonderful that you will get a little break!
Check your e-mail for good news!!!

seawitch said...

Hang in there St. C. Somehow God is going to get all of us through this. Enjoy your trip!

Texas Jaye said...

I have to wonder these days what successful living is. How do we recognize successful living in our own lives? It is more than the comfort of the roof over our heads, more than money in the bank. What we may feel when we notice those comforts may not be success.

I know the heartache you have suffered and witnessed. But even though faith and hope seem fleeting, that is merely the reminder of the absence of hope. Depression is the lack of hope. Faith is one path out of that mental state.

I pray for you and other Katrina survivors everyday that you find successful living. Your losses are staggering. Your lost loved ones can never be recovered. To mourn is to love with an odd combination of joy of having known the dead and sorrow at the end of that life.

Keep the faith is really more than just an expression but a way of life.

Sending you love.

cheesehead said...

Traveling mercies for you and your friend. I think the fact that you are doing this is very healthy, and a very healthy, repsonsible example to the people you care for.

Sue said...

Enjoy your trip!!

the reverend mommy said...

Traveling mercies, indeed. You are in my prayers continually. I hear some healing in your posting -- your writing today is beautiful. I continue to pray for you, my dear sister in Christ.

see-through faith said...

Your writing is indeed wonderful

adn I could see you poking aroudn second hand stores. My, I'd love to visit NYC with you. You sound my kind of woman :)

Natala said...

praying for peace for you... and a beautiful trip... much love to you St. C

mibi52 said...

Bless you, dear, and have a wonderful trip. Let go of the pain for a few days and simply enjoy yourself.