Sunday, December 11, 2005

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,

St. Casserole


Quotidian Grace said...

It's nice to hear that churches have been the best resource for your area. Isn't that what the church should be about?

100 days isn't a very long time -- be gentle with yourself and others.

Wish I had a roofer to send to you!

annie said...

Grace and peace to you too St. Casserole...weathering the aftermath of the storm will take time. It's hard work, adjusting to a "new normal". May God continue to strengthen you and guide you as you do the double duty of weathering your own storm and shepherding others around you through the weathering of their storm...

Lorna said...

God loves it when we come together in unity - and churches helping people rebuild their homes and their lives, well God smiles and we grin too

I'm so sorry for your loss St C, but I thank God you are able to be there for God's people and be honest and real too. It was awful what happened and you help us not to forget.

What can we do to help?

Songbird said...

St. C, we heard in our paper today about a man from Maine who went down to the Gulf Coast to haul trash and hasn't been paid. His family here may lose their house because he can't make his mortgage payments. It's just a mess.
Corruption? Inefficiency? Some combination of the two?
It's a good Christmas for "I wonder as I wander," isn't it?

seawitch said...

St C.,

You describe so beautifully the feelings that a lot of us have as a result of Katrina. And it's nice that the pain of loss of our beautiful Coast doesn't linger all day anymore. The shell shock is being replaced with a sense of optimism. There were so many people at the beach in Gulfport yesterday and it was wonderful to see, even though it's still a big mess.

Anonymous said...

About the debris hauler... The contracts for debris hauling are being the United State's Corp of Engineers and a few national companies. These are not local people, but , as one might say, friends of George and Dick.
Mr. C

Songbird said...

Hi, Mr. C~
It sounded like the problem was actually in Louisiana, although the guy is employed by a local Mississippi company (if I read it right). The parish employed the company, but waits to be reimbursed by the state, etc. It's just one more sad thing in a long series of sad things: delays that suggest no one in the government really cares enough to be responsible and oversee things properly.

peripateticpolarbear said...