Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Hope (05/04/06)
- TITLE: Reaching Out In New Orleans
By Jessica Morello
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Two years ago I bought a Ford Focus because it was small and compact. Easy to park, squeezes into any place: it is the perfect car for a big city girl. Stand my Focus next to a school bus and what a difference! My Focus looks tiny, the bus huge. We’re looking at David and Goliath. That same school bus is now dwarfed by the immense barge it is pinned under. The enormity of the water that carried inland this massive steel structure when the levy broke is hard to imagine. I cry at the thought of the water washing the barge in while at the same time, and with the same ease, sending people out to sea.
There are so many piles of bricks that used to be houses mixed with seashells washed in from the sea. The closest mound is topped by an overturned Oldsmobile and surrounded by children’s toys. Tonka trucks and Leggo, a bicycle and a Fisher-Price tape player remind me that children lived here, that their lives were forever changed the day that the water washed away their homes, their feeling of security, their pets, their parents…
Driving further away from the water to where houses are still standing but empty, I feel as though I’ve entered a ghost town with many houses awaiting demolition. Seeing movement in a house that is still standing, I enter to the smell of mold and the sight of determined activity. I ask someone in a fluorescent vest and steel-toed boots, “What’s going on?”
“The sooner we empty the house the sooner we can gut the house. The sooner we gut the house the sooner we can rebuild. The sooner we rebuild, the sooner we gain forward momentum and stop just reacting.” The resolve and tenacity of homeowners and relief workers alike is a sharp contrast to what I felt while standing alone in the debris. I am excited and inspired by the action that is going on around me and decide to return in three weeks to join the team of workers fighting for improvement.
As I sit on the plane returning home, I flip open my Bible and start to read. I come across the story of the hemorrhaging woman. She bled for twelve years before reaching out to touch Christ’s robe and in that reaching out, there was healing. There is always healing when we reach for Jesus, because He is always reaching back for us. Looking out over the destruction in New Orleans, I felt the anguish, the hopelessness of despair. It is easy to give in to that feeling. But there is hope. Through Christ, and through others, there is hope. And it may take years, two years, five years, twelve years, but as long as there are people who are willing to reach out and lend a hand, there is hope.
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