Havenâ€™t posted in a while. Iâ€™ve been thinking a lot lately and Iâ€™m trying to develop a new frame of mind. It all kind of started last week when I drove my mother-in-law, wife, and daughter through the lower ninth ward and lakeview. We jokingly refer to this as the misery tour.
Neither my wife nor my daughter had been to the lower ninth. They couldnâ€™t believe it. Theyâ€™ve been exposed to some pretty bad stuff in the city, but my daughter couldnâ€™t handle it. She asked me never to take her back. My mother-in-law said that people just donâ€™t know how bad it really is. We drove for miles and only saw empty slabs where people used to live.
I explained that most of my clients used to live in the lower nine or mid-city or in the empty housing projects prior to Katrina. My mother-in-law said, â€œThat must be really hard. Where do they live now?â€
â€œA lady called me today (two days before Christmas) who is living in her car. Many are living with relatives or friends. They donâ€™t have money to pay rent or buy a home and I really donâ€™t have resources to help them. It is really hard, but sometimes I can help them and thatâ€™s good.â€
My job really does suck in that I hear so many horror stories and so many people who are in desperate need of help. I wish that there was more that I could do. It makes me really angry. Butâ€¦I am helping a few. The other day I spent over an hour just listening to client talk about the struggles and joys in her life. I gave her simple advice. She left feeling much better. Sometimes folks are just so overwhelmed that they need someone to say â€œDo this first, then this, and then this.â€
Back to the frame of mindâ€¦My son brought home a new translation of the Epic of Gilgamesh. I hate to admit this, (my best friendâ€™s son is named Gilgamesh) but Iâ€™ve never read it. Hereâ€™s my interpretation (Michael feel free to correct me) Gilgamesh is a guy who seems to have everything. But heâ€™s not happy with that. He sets out to kill a monster just so he can brag about it. It causes him to lose his best friend so he sets out on a quest for immortality. The only human to achieve immortality seems to imply that immortality isnâ€™t what itâ€™s cracked up to be. Gilgamesh acquires a â€œfountain of youthâ€ plant, but loses it. He goes back home and sees his life from a new perspective.–kind of got me thinking.
Fred LeBlanc of Cowboy Mouth said in an interview today that lifeâ€™s too short to stay pissed off and negative all the time. He said that New Orleanians need to stand up, brush themselves off and kick ass like they always have. After all we are the ones who taught the world to have fun!–Thanks Fred!
Then there was Christmas communion at my church Sunday night. I love seeing old folks, young folks, black folks, white folks, and other-colored folks line up to receive the body and blood of Christ. It reminds me that waiting in line for that is better than waiting in line for anything else. It reminds me of the love and grace of God. It also reminds me of how sometimes Jesus brings diverse folks together.–Thanks Jesus!
Well, with the help of my wonderful wife, I have as Gilgamesh did at the end of his story.. â€œGone up onto the wall of Uruk and walked around.â€
This past year been reunited with my wonderful family (after spending four months in Nashville). I have written and received two million dollars worth of grants. I have worked three jobs at a time to help support my family. Iâ€™ve acquired a scooter, built birdhouses, served as vice president of a professional organization and on a committee at United Way. Iâ€™ve seen the most historic game in Superdome history with my best friend. Iâ€™ve seen my kids do some amazing things, helped my parents move to Florida, seen my wifeâ€™s health improve with no new signs of cancer. And experienced New Orleans more deeply.
Yep. Urukâ€™s a pretty amazing place. Iâ€™m really looking forward to my next adventure.