It was 2 am and I was staring at the little green light on the smoke detector above my bed. Every once in a while it would blink red to let me know… I don’t know what. Will I have to change the battery soon? It’s a pain. High ceilings. Believe it or not, this was far less painful than sleep. I had been asleep. Dreaming about Katrina. I woke up in a cold sweat, bordering a nervous breakdown.
My family’s story is like so many others, though with our own specific-to-us God sized blessings that you notice at the time, but only appreciate many years later. My wife and I (we had just celebrated our first anniversary) evacuated with family. We ended up in Atlanta, but came back to help rebuild. After having a child, we moved away to be closer to grandparents who had permanently shifted to the Mid-Atlantic.
We started a new life on the Eastern Shore of Maryland – which bares an uncanny resemblance to Terrebonne Parish. For five years we were ambassadors for New Orleans. The lone family many people knew who could tell stories about Katrina. Like most of the world, they had watched the news – seen the tragedy. We put a face to that for them. But we were disconnected from the heartache. Distance and time allowed us to tell the story without reliving it.
But now we are home. And just in time for the 10th anniversary. Above all else, as we remember the past, we must give glory to God. He was good. He is good. He will always be good. Though we may struggle with our own special brand of PTSD when it comes to Katrina – we have an opportunity to shine the light of Christ for a world looking on to see how we’ve done. Who are we 10 years later? Are we a people who know the heart of Christ better, having been through the grinder of life, did we come out the other end looking more like Jesus?
I think so. And that makes it all worth it.