R.I.P. Katrina

Posted: August 28, 2010 in Lessons

This weekend marks the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. I guess my family will forever mark these anniversaries since it reminds us of such a dramatic scene in our collective life. I can’t imagine “not” remembering.

Strangely enough, over the last couple of years, I have heard myself on multiple occasions refer to the Katrina Experience as one of the best times of my life. Now I fully realize that for many, especially those who lost loved ones, it represents the polar opposite. But for me, it really was a life highlight. If love and relationships and serving (and/or being) “the least of these” really do lie at the center of the meaning of life—and I think they do—then that crazy storm really did churn up a time and place deserving of such a description.

It was good for me to be a beggar. It was good for me to be homeless, helpless, overwhelmed, and darn close to the neighborhood where you can find hopeless, too. I really doubt there will be a big line of people signing up for any of the above, but if you ever find yourself there, I’d offer that there are some good lessons to learn therein.

Like what it feels like to be helpless. How could I ever refer to “the poor” as if they were something other than me?

Like what it feels like to be rescued. Forget the celebrity, intellectual, and political heroes of this world: I know what real heroes look like.

Like what it feels like to be the object of condescension. Sometimes the manner in which one is rescued makes being lost preferable.

Like what it feels like to really be loved. Real love involves actions, not mere sentiments or emotions.

Like what it feels like to survive. Weathered (literally), violated, humbled, and yet, proud still to be kicking when all is said and done.

Five years, huh? Heh. In some ways, seems like yesterday; in others, like from a former lifetime.

Katrina has been called some awfully ugly names, and I completely understand. She’s like that abusive parent that doesn’t deserve any semblance of praise and yet helped turn you into the person you’ve now become. I can’t really say that I miss her, and I can’t even say that what she produced in me has been all good. But I really can say in retrospect that I somehow appreciate the fact that she was a part of my life.

May she rest in peace.

  1. J D says:

    I’m With You.

  2. […] Eighteen miles down the road my friend Al Sturgeon had his own Katrina experiences. You can read his five year reflection HERE. […]

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