Hurricane Katrina blew over the Mississippi Gulf Coast over 100 days ago.
Often, I cannot believe the destruction the storm caused even if I am staring at the mess.
It's difficult to put my mind around how much misery wind, rain and rising Gulf waters causes in a hurricane.
The Mississippi National Guard will withdraw from the Coast soon. I'm grateful for the time they've spent helping secure this area.
Not everyone has decent housing yet. Hard to believe that people are living in tents this long after the hurricane. FEMA trailers are everywhere in our neighborhood and around the Coast although I see parking lots full of yet-to-be placed trailers and wish the distribution would speed up.
Most retail businesses have HIRING NOW signs. Not enough people to staff stores and businesses because people left, people have to wait until they have a home to work and the debris hauling business is good money.
Area restaurants and hotels are packed. It's easier to eat at home rather than navigate through the long lines at eateries. If you are coming to this area, have your housing plans firm before you come because the hotels are full. There is no room at the Inn this Christmas.
Christmas lights are decorating FEMA trailers, tree stumps and torn up houses. People want Christmas to look like Christmas even when the world looks like a Bomb Zone. The LH bought a Christmas Tree, decorated it and cooked a beautiful meal last night.
People are tired. The Katrina Cough is ubiquitous. People look storm shocked but are getting better. The air is bad. The water is questionable. I don't believe reports of the Beach being safe from chemical/sewage waste.
Our roof isn't repaired but we hope for help soon. Many people haven't gotten repairs yet so the Blue Roof is common. Tarps cover roofs, plywood covers broken windows and it doesn't look as if much is going on. There are too many repairs for the number of contractors/workers available so waiting is the norm.
Churches have been our best resource. Work teams from all over the States come to strip out sheetrock, replace roofs, clean debris, hold hands with survivors and make us feel like human beings. A church in Jackson is rebuilding the home of friend's who have nothing but disability and problems. God bless that church! Hope in the face of disaster is God's work.
I have moments of feeling normal and happy. I feel like myself for a portion of each day now. I don't cry everyday. I don't feel overwhelmed with the suffering around me all day long now. I'm grateful for this. It's a painful discipline to keep going day after day while filled with grief so that I may be available to others.
Advent is different this year. I'm preaching on Luke I:47-55 in about 4 hours.
"My soul magnifies the Lord" and I remember what it is to have a rejoicing spirit.
Grace and Peace,