It is hard to believe that 7 years ago today the worst hurricane imaginable hit New Orleans… Yes, this is Katrina’s anniversary. And to celebrate Isaac is moving rapidly to the same path.
Hurricanes are a weather phenomena common to the costal regions, and perhaps many people have learned how to accept this as a normal part of life. I think there is a lesson here.
In my life i experienced a hurricane of epic proportion that took out finances, identity and purpose. Much like the aftermath of Katrina’s rubble strewn city, my life existed, but just that… there was a lot of rubble to clear away, and alot of rebuilding that still goes on today. No, i didn;t physically loose my home to damage, but i lost my emotional and financial home and identity.
In that destruction i found that so much of what we build into our lives is frivolous, fleeting, and not necessary. My Katrina clarified what was vital and important. As we rebuild everything is now filtered through the lens of purpose – does it serve a purpose. is it necessary or a luxury? Are things more important than people? Is that prize of dying with the most toys so critical? No, No, a thousand times no. I like having money, but not at the expense of all else.
As a young christian i remember clearly a story that an older woman told of the impact of hurricanes on a particular species of coconut palm. She said if you look carefully at pictures of tropical places you will see that most palm trees have a lean, a sway, as though they were pushed over. More often that not these palm trees have been beaten and battered by the hurricane winds, pounding them over and over again. Human logic wants to say this damage is destructive, but on this particular species of coconut palm the battering and pounding of the wind actually releases a chemical process that makes the coconuts sweet and edible. Without the intense storm the fruit is not edible. Hmm, i think there is something to this also.
My Katrina left my emotions raw, damaged, and challenged. Perhaps it exposed the layer under the surface that noone else saw… and started a process of changing me into something sweeter and more palitable. Emotions were raw, discouragement surrounded me. But i am a fighter, and i refuse to let something destructive have that kind of impact on me. I want to be like that coconut palm, producing fruit that is delightful, nurturing, delicious. During my darkest moments God was there, and more than that he provided kindness of friends, coworkers, neighbors. You may never know what impact you had on my life, but you did. Those expressions of unwavering belief in my future made a difference. And those many silent prayers changed things in my heart and life.
Katrina is long gone, but the changes she brought to a region are still felt today, 7 years later. My Katrina has almost past. And the changes she has brought to my life are good. While i don;t want to endure another onslought of such a storm, like the people of the coastal regions, i know it is going to come and i will be prepared as much as i can for the next one.