Surviving “the Storm”

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When perusing the other types of blogs in the “blogoverse,”  I noticed a blog completely dedicated to finding the joy in Mondays.  As a self-proclaimed optimist, I cherished the idea of a blog dedicated completely to finding the good in a day that people everywhere love to hate.  As a current resident of New Orleans, married to a man born and raised in the city, I decided to apply that same concept to today – Katrina: 10 years later.  I cannot even in my greatest imagination pretend to understand the tragedy that those living in New Orleans endured.  My husband lost every possession humanly imaginable – his house, his baby pictures, his high school year book and letterman jacket, his perfect attendance awards and other elementary school accomplishments, baby blankets, stuffed animals and other toys.  Those around him lost loved ones – friends, cousins, aunts, uncles, sisters, brothers, and parents.  I thought to myself, how on earth do I attempt a conversation to explain to the man I love the most, that it’s ok – that everything happens for a reason?

I decided to take note from other bloggers and name 5 wonderful things which would never have taken place without the push from a little thing they call “the storm.”

5. The Saints won the Superbowl.  Anyone who knows someone from New Orleans knows that they are die hard Saints fans.  I tried to find a video of them reentering the Superdome after Katrina.  The noise was so deafening that even watching it on television sent chills up my spine.  You’ll have to settle for a snippet of their first big play:

I am convinced that had Katrina never happened, Saints fans everywhere would still await a super bowl appearance.  Within 5 years of reentering the super dome, the Saints made their first playoff appearance followed by a super bowl victory the next year.

4.  Resilience.  I watched an entire city get hit by one of life’s toughest blows…And I watched them lay on the ground – stunned.  Then, while all eyes were on them, I watched them stand up, look  around them, and start picking up the pieces of a destroyed puzzle, knowing that eventually the pieces would build again a beautiful picture. I watched a group of people summon up every bit of inner strength they had left and make a conscious decision not only to keep going, but to re-build so they could pick up right where they left off.

3.  I found myself.  While residing in Baton Rouge and attending LSU, I met two friends on my track team.  They were two of the most beautiful girls I will meet in my life both inside and out.  With them I learned that I was truly beautiful just as I was – my goofiness, my awkardness, my playfulness.  There were certainly plenty of others who set me in the right direction.  Yet, being forced to live with one of the prettiest girls in Baton Rouge to make room for a family who needed a place to lay their heads after Katrina taught me something.  She taught me that life is not a competition.  Two beautiful people can reside simultaneously.  There are different forms of beauty and that mine was just as beautiful as hers.

2.  I found my ministry.  Katrina brought Pastor Carl B. Ming to Caffin Avenue International SDA Church.  When I returned to New Orleans, Pastor Ming introduced me to the concept of trying out children as a ministry.  Before I could really wrap my head around the idea, I had already been nominated as children’s minister.  Two years later I recognized that those children have done more for my spiritual growth and day to day happiness and contentment than I could ever do for them.

1.  The end of one chapter and the beginning of another.  I dated a guy for YEARS –  almost married him.  I want to say the last time I ever saw him was at his house after Katrina.  It was completely gutted.  They would have to start from scratch.  Not a shred of anything existed to show what used to remain there.  The house was symbolic of our relationship – empty, barren, and destroyed.  And as much as it pained me, I had to make a decision not to rebuild but instead to walk away forever.  Thankfully, Katrina also brought new hope, chances for new beginning.  My now husband coincidentally relocated to Baton Rouge after Katrina.  Had there been no storm, there would be no us.  My entire life would be completely different.  So selfishly I am indebted to Katrina; I am thankful for “the storm.”

And now I dive into my metaphorical analogy that compares Hurricane Katrina to the storms that each of us encounter.  As an optimist, I would like to believe that after every storm comes a beautiful rainbow.  I am here only as a reminder that “With great tragedy comes great opportunity – a chance for people to be who they always dreamed they could be – magnificent!” (A comment Bill Frances made when interviewed by Dan Rather from CBS in the aftermath of the 2004 Tsunami.  See more at: http://www.pattayamail.com/ourcommunity/with-great-tragedy-comes-great-opportunity-33819#sthash.VRNXshu8.dpuf)

But, as always I am just an ordinary girl…out here trying to live an extraorindary life.

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