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Katrina #6

On St. Pat's site three days after

It’s that time again. August 29th, a day none of us around here will ever forget of course. The news has a few items on the anniversary, Facebook statuses of coast folks seem to mention it – usually in the light of thanksgiving and how far we’ve come.

There are days when that seems so true, and days (especially when EVERY street you try to drive down is blocked, torn up, or reduced to gravel due to the never ending infrastructure work) when it seems we haven’t come all that far. I rode my bike yesterday from my house in Pass Christian, over the Bay Bridge, and around in Bay St. Louis some, then on the way back through Pass Christian Isles and Timber Ridge. It is the usual mix of newly built replacement homes and empty lots, still. But the bridge is real nice and I certainly could not have ridden my bike over the old one without risking my life (much less getting stopped for a boat since it use to be a draw bridge).

New government offices are complete almost everywhere, but residential stuff on the beach is still lacking greatly. Insurance will keep many from ever rebuilding there.

Watching the flooding in the Northeast from Irene (and can they really stop calling Category 1 hurricanes “major storms”?) is painful – water is so powerful and I hated seeing the homes and bridges torn apart. It hits too close to home still. When the tsunami hit Japan, after a day or so I just couldn’t watch those images any more, I kept superimposing my friends’ and parishioners’ houses over those pictures in my mind, as well as the church, getting swept away like they were nothing and remembering how much pain so many people were in (and in some cases still are) from that.

We are taught that it is good to recognize anniversaries – it helps with the grieving process I suppose. I am not sure I agree. Of course we can’t just sit on our pain, squash it down where it doesn’t show up – because it always shows up anyway, often in unexpected ways. But this Parish seems to want to not talk about it, corporately, and I honor that from them, and I understand it. So we said a couple of special prayers on Sunday and did not linger there too long. Mostly our prayers are those of blessing and thanksgiving as people who have received so much help since that horrible day.

No doubt we have come a long way. The scars remain, and, while painful,
they serve also as reminders of God’s blessings and the hope brought to us by so many. They also remind us, if we let them, of our own resiliency and hard work. None of this has been easy, so we can absolutely celebrate at least that, and give thanks as well. The people of the Gulf Coast of Mississippi continue to rise from the devastation of the worst natural disaster in our nation’s history. I am proud of you all.

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