Seeing pictures stapled to a post where previously a stately southern mansion had been before the water swept it out into the gulf was only a small part of the tragedy. The toxic, greasy black coating that covered everything made it hard to breathe. The trees were a weird rust color and covered with garbage, clothing, household effects and everything in between. Bridges were out, boats were high centered in trees and yards. Some houses were moved off their foundations.
People everywhere just wanted affection and someone interested in hearing their story. Lives were lost and almost lost. Faith found again. Everyone had a story. All were heart wrenching and so fresh still. The landscape looked desolate, empty, grey and colorless. My eyes craved somewhere to feast on something beautiful, something colorful and whole.
We tried to wash and wipe off some pictures and treasures we gleaned from the nasty pile of rubble from one gal's home. One little box was the only thing she had left. The same story was repeated over and over and the insurance companies and FEMA could not or would not come through for most.
Those people were so strong and lent me courage. They wanted to stay. They were determined to rebuild. They kept the flame of hope alive. They united and held each other up.
When we got home the feedback wasn't very good from my leaders, I received a lot of personal negative criticism. It was harmful/hurtful, as the investment in time, money, energy and love was great!
But, my friends in Biloxi don't feel the same. I'm so glad! :)
Thursday, Tessa and I leave to go visit them again. I kept in contact with a few new friends-it will be so good to see them and catch up....and get another dollop of courage and inspiration from them. They are teaching me resilience. They didn't keep asking why, they just kept asking what next? WOW! It will be fun to see what their 'normal' lives are like and observe the restoration....