Wednesday, May 4, 2011

And when the broken hearted people living in the world agree, there will be an answer, Let it Be.

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Wow. What a week it has been. Tornadoes ravage my home state, a major enemy of the United States is killed, and of course, William and Kate get hitched! (Still waiting on my invite; thanks, Elton, for taking it.) Social networks, newspapers, and various other media sites are exploding with articles, debates, opinions, and reactions (and more than a few humorous parodies of these events). Everyone's got something to say, including me (read on!), and all this information is enough to make my head spin in a creepy Twilight Zone fashion. In addition, apart from all this madness, my own quarter-life crisis roars on within the confines of my heart. The future, my purpose, my issues in my present work place and community . . . all typical things considered by Yoda.



As I live and serve in a city that it still rebuilding from a natural disaster that happened over 5 years ago, my heart reaches out to all those grieving and struggling back home in Alabama. The outpouring of love and support is beginning in great multitudes, and I hope to be an ongoing part of it. During my trip home, I was reminded of how lucky and blessed I am to still have my house standing, to still have my loved ones alive. So many people lost everything in the storms. Hundreds of people are still missing. I cannot imagine the pain and anxiety over not knowing where a loved one is, of standing in this wreckage of the life you had made for yourself wondering what to do next?  It is very humbling to me, to realize how temporary material things in this world can be, and we must invest not with money but in the wealth of relationships, and be thankful for all moments spent with the people we love. With all the distractions in this world, it is easy to forget what life is truly about at its core. For right now as I head into the final months of my term in New Orleans, I will keep praying for all those affected and hope that like New Orleans, the many cities damaged will be able to rebuild, recover, and rejoice.


In other news, there is the death of Osama Bin Laden. (Not “Obama.” Fox News Headline, I'm looking at you.) In reading all the articles and debates and coverage of this historic moment, I find myself struggling with my own personal reaction to this event and how to reconcile it with my own Faith, moral compass, and citizenship that ties me to this country. I would be lying if I said seeing all the Americans dancing in the streets and their passionate cries of USA! USA! USA! did not slightly disturb me. I am painfully aware that my fellow Americans serving in other countries are having to constantly deal with the consequences of the negative image our nation produces. I realize everyone's reason for celebration is more about beginning the road to peace and not necessarily the actual death of another human being. But, can one human being's death, no matter how blinded that person was by hate in their lifetime, really be a stepping stone to peace? Are we not just continuing to turn the wheel of violence, an eye for an eye, a ping pong game of attacks that require counter attacks? What will break this vicious cycle of human beings turning against each other? How can we dissolve this strange assumption in our fragile minds that one person has more of a right to be on this earth than another person, that one life holds more value than another life? Jesus told us to pray for our enemies, as tempting as it is to fight them off and walk away victorious with pride carefully intact. It is in the most difficult times that test our patience and weigh heavy on our hearts that we are called to move our perspective to outside ourselves. "Faced with the death of a man,” the Roman Catholic Church states, “a Christian never rejoices, but reflects on the serious responsibility of everyone before God and man, and hopes and pledges that every event is not an opportunity for a further growth of hatred, but of peace."

So this leaves us where? The questions begin to pile up in massive mounds in the valleys of my mind. Is there a formula for a peaceful world, and if so are we following all the right steps? Or maybe there is no formula, no drawn map, no beaming torches to guide the way. Perhaps somewhere along the journey we are meant to be brave enough to Love even in the face of frustration and anger, even when the desire for revenge runs deep in our bones.

Please keep in your prayers the people affected by the storms and everyone in this world burdened with pain and despair. I see it so often, especially in the eyes of the homeless men and women that come through First Pres each week. It is very easy to give up trying, to force oneself to stop caring, to want to no longer deal with the constant rejection, red tape, and hoops that life can require.  But, we also find ourselves in unexpected moments where joy burrows deep through the passageways of our hearts. A child coloring a funny face on a piece of paper and handing it you saying, “It’s yours!” Someone genuinely thanking you for a simple act, like typing a resume or handing them a sack lunch for the day. I've never heard "God Bless You" more times than during the homeless program each week. It is in these moments we see the hope shining through the cracks of the caves we feel trapped inside. It is THESE little things, rather than large violent acts burning with justice and power, that are the true stepping stones to peace.

And after all, William and Kate proved that Disney fairy tales are real! Kidding. Even Kate Middleton probably looks less than ravishing without makeup (I can only hope).

Excited because tonight my fellow YAVs and I are off to see the musical adaptation of Nine Lives by Dan Baum, a book everyone should read that weaves the fascinating story of unique characters living in Nawlins. Will let you know how that goes! WOO Arts

-Katie-

*The thoughts shared in all my blog entries do not represent the views or beliefs of the Young Adult Volunteer Program, rather, they are just my own personal opinions.

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