Thursday, April 1, 2010

April 1, 2010, The Short Sentences

Hey all! My name is Lisa Martin and I am a client services coordinator for the St. Bernard Project. A few weeks ago I received an email from a New Orleans resident that needs help recovering from Hurricane Katrina, and the last line read:

“If you can help me to get back into my home, I will certainly consider it a miracle of my life.”

“Oh my goodness!” was my immediate exclamation after reading that sentence. As I reflect on my reaction, I realize how many different ways I was interrupting that sentence. Initially, I just felt overwhelmingly sad. Sad, that an American citizen is living in a condition that moving back to her home of 30 years seems insurmountable. I immediately wanted to stop what I was doing, pick up tools, and rebuild her house. Every time I read that sentence it pulls at my heart.

Mad. I was so angry that a person was still displaced, living in Texas nearly five years after Hurricane Katrina made landfall.

Next, I felt hope. Hopeful, that she is one step closer to driving down her street lined with oak trees and opening the door to her rebuilt home.

I felt comfort that we can work together to rebuild her home and life. I felt comfort that I can work with her to lessen her anxiety, uncertainty and worries about the rebuilding process.

I admire this woman’s perseverance and determination to return to her home in New Orleans. In just hours, Hurricane Katrina changed every aspect of her life. She has overcome many obstacles, but she still needs help.

Since I began working with Hurricane Katrina survivors in New Orleans, it has been the short sentences that have continued to be the most lasting impressions.

I was standing with a woman in her home that was completely gutted to the studs when she said, “We have been blessed much more than we have been devastated”.

Hurricane Katrina was sad, horrible, devastating, and catastrophic. However, the residents of New Orleans can still find blessings, miracles, hope and comfort among all of this destruction, and that is what is truly inspiring and motivating for me.

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