Friday, December 30, 2005

Becoming Disciples

If you can get up again on the fourth day, then you can get up day after day. By this time we are beyond tiredness but each day brings a new, interesting aspect of the project, new people to help and a better understanding of the team members we work with. How is it with the families that live here? For them it is not four days of getting up again, but four months. Like some of them, we are sleeping in a tent and it is chilly at night. Like them we are frustrated when the coordination doesn’t work out, when the supplies are promised but not delivered. We wait. They have waited for a very long time.

But the projects are moving forward. Some roofs are complete. From our roof top we can see three other crews on roofs. Beside our house there are two FEMA trailers, one of which our house owner lives in. The neighbor across the street watches all day as we work. He speaks to us with a dialect we can barely understand but we make out that he has no food to offer us but there are some cold drinks in his refrigerator. Another crew reports that “Linda’s gumbo” is unbelievable.

Yesterday we met Liz, the mother of three foster kids. She and her husband both teach high school in Bay St. Louis. The insurance refuses to pay anything from a house that was completely destroyed. All they found were some pots and pans and many pieces of pottery from their large collection of mugs, teapots and platters. Many beautiful pieces survived but were still covered in muck four months latter. They are overwhelmed by life and amazed that a crew is at their door to help. We cleaned and stored for them until they can get back on their feet in their own house. Another mother of three whose entire house we mucked out is living in a shelter. She is unable to store anything and her kids could not understand why all their things had to be discarded. Everywhere are piles of peoples lost dreams. The trash pickup cannot keep ahead of the work. It will be years before the towns of Biloxi and Bay St. Louis are able to put Katrina behind them. Yet the mood is upbeat, people are hopeful that things are getting better.

Bonhoeffer writes that discipleship comes with a cost, that there is no cheap grace. Many of the young people here are high school or college age and have begun to struggle with this idea of discipleship. They know that something is being asked of them and they are working hard. I am continually surprised by the joy that dawns through these young people as they gradually unmask their cool airs and you see what makes them laugh and shine. The older folk celebrate their aches and pains and gladly pass the heavy lifting jobs to the kids. It is a microcosm of the passing of faith and hope.

- John Drake


Post a Comment

<< Home