Tuesday, August 29, 2006


I'm sure you all know what today is even though most of you don't live on the Gulf Coast. Today is the day Hurricane Katrina hit shore and came crashing into our lives. A day that will forever be etched in my memory. While the country sees pictures of New Orleans and hears about broken levees I see firsthand the affects of Katrina in Mississippi. A friend's home was pretty much washed away, only the walls remaining. Today her home is one of the few rebuilt on her block. Around her there are empty lots where homes once stood or homes still stand that are completely destroyed and not touched since that dreadful day. A neighbor moved away as they lost their jobs in the casino business. Today they are back in our neighborhood renting a home and back into the jobs they are familiar with. Another friend of mine moved here from Oregon, after coming down to volunteer, and are planting a church! Another friend lost her lifetime of belongings under 6 feet of water. Today she is renting a different home and the generosity that others have bestowed upon her she will ever be grateful for. These are just some personal testimonies of how Katrina has impacted people we know this past year. If you go to my September 2005 archives you can read firsthand accounts and see pictures from after the storm. While certain people cry and whine about the government not helping them I have seen firsthand how people can pull through such a tragedy- government help or not. I have seen oodles and oodles of volunteers down here this past year. Van loads, bus loads, families. It is amazing how people come to help those who have lost a part of their lives. But, their endurance has kept them going. Many have come to faith in the Lord through this tragedy. There have been many memorial services and prayer vigils along the coast today. I did not attend one, but all day long I have thought on this day a year ago. As I sat in Panama City, evacuated in a friend's home I wondered whether my husband was washed away in the storm. I wondered if my home was swept away. I cried. I could not rest. Not until the moment my dear husband called to say he was ok. Not until he called and said our home was intact. I could not believe what I was hearing. I was ecstatic. Dumbfounded. Others were not as fortunate. It is to these that I stand amazed as I watch them pick up and start over. You still meet people and one of the first questions they ask is how you fared in the storm. And it strikes me how much they have lost, yet how far they have come. We still have a long way to go. I think the 'outside world' thinks we are back to normal. You would be amazed to come to our cities and still see the remains of what once was. To drive down Highway 90 where once stood beautiful beach homes and now there are FEMA trailers. I still get tears in my eyes as I see scenes like this. Even though I am not a Mississippi native I feel we who have survived this storm, no matter how little we 'lost' have a bond. We are linked by a power not within us to survive no matter what the future holds. We know there is a greater hope far above what we can imagine as we have actually survived this past year. And we will make it in the years to come. The coast will rebuild and be strong. I just pray they will continually share the light of Jesus and put their hope in Him.
*And to those who lost their lives I pray they knew Jesus and that on this day their families have a peace that surpasses all understanding.
**I am not for the rebuilding of casinos or making this a 'Little Las Vegas'. I simply can see the willpower for the people to survive in a place they call home.


DDK23 said...

I remember last year well. I looked at your blog everyday to see an honest update. For me it was better than the news coverage, it was so much more heartfelt.

Canaan said...

I linked your post from my blog. I just wrote a little remembrance as well. I can't believe we lived through that. I never would have thought that something like that would happen in my lifetime.

Amie said...

I'll admit that Katrina is generally filed away as "history" already in my mind, I forget that the gulf shore still lives with the aftermath every day and there is so much work to do.

Bethany said...

Great post Jamie. It really touched on how it "feels" down here!