In this time of great anxiety and confusion, I’m remembering a letter sent on the 10th anniversary of hurricane Katrina by Rev. David Knight who was priest of St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church, Long Beach, MS a church building which had been swept away by the wind and waters.
In 2005, Hurricane Katrina decimated the Gulf Coast. It was terrifying. The entire beautiful coast and far inland looked like a war zone. The death toll was in the thousands. Survivors lived in tent cities and from around the country help arrived. Camp Coast Care, a volunteer organization of the Lutheran / Episcopal Services of Mississippi housed volunteers and became a distribution center for supplies, health care and encouragement amid that catastrophic disaster.
This is an excerpt from David’s letter and reflections on that disastrous time:
“Do I talk about the woman who almost died in her home, water to her neck, neither she nor her daughter could swim, how a neighbor rescued them out of a window and lashed them inside a boat tied to a tree, where they watched it all play out, tornadoes and wind and water and prayed the tree held, watched her home and car wash away, knowing her story was just one story of so many JUST LIKE THAT. Do I talk about the friend in Hattiesburg who is a Chevy dealer who loaned me a pickup truck that I would fill up with supplies and drive around to all the tent “villages”, especially in the Bay, and hand out what I had and money if I had it too, and then go back for more supplies and do it all over again. What a gift that truck proved to be, just in the nick of time. So much came to us just in the nick of time, over and over again God provided, in the triple digit heat and the dust and the great despair, God kept showing up, looking different every time, but present and there always. Always.”
So today as we struggle with a disaster that takes a very different form, but nevertheless is sweeping away livelihoods and lifestyles, let’s remember David’s experience of God’s presence in the chaos as we do our best to care for our own communities, families and friends.
Rev. Kerry Holder-Joffrion and I send you prayers. Stay strong, take care of each other. Pray for our world.