The second day I went with another group to Orleans Parish and
some of the really bad neighborhoods near where the levee broke.
Here are some photos of what I saw just driving around.
When cleaning up the homes, this is what I found amidst the rubble while cleaning
Two puzzle pieces
A plastic hair curler
Mardi gras beads
Lots and lots of broken glass
Pieces of people's homes -- roofing, siding, tile...
As I reflected on the trip, I thought about how these pieces of
people's lives were
ripped and torn and literally thrown all over the place. Making the
neighborhoods and yards look clean and neat brought hope to people.
Many people honked when they drove by and gave the thumbs up, and
thanked us for caring about their city and their lives. Tonight as I
ran, I realized that why I was so drawn to the broken glass and picking
up the broken pieces of people's lives -- the garbage -- was that was what
divorce does. It takes a family and it tears it and rips it and throws
the pieces all over the place. My life and my family was torn apart,
both my own when I was a child and my family now.
It's been four years since my divorce,
and I'm still recovering from the pain -- pain I caused myself, pain I
caused Matt, and my children, and pain that I myself endured through
various events. I went through the most difficult challenge of my adult
life during those years at the beginning. It was a tragedy, and I needed
someone to just wrap their arms around me, and to reach out to me and
let me know I was loved and forgiven. No one did (at the church),
except -- of all people -- my ex-husband. Now years later I can honestly
say I am happier and more whole than I've ever been in my life, and yet I will always
carry a sadness that this happened in my life. I am rebuilding my life,
like the people in New Orleans have to rebuild theirs. There is rebirth
in tragedy, and the pieces of broken glass and shattered homes can form
something beautiful in time and truly give strength to the broken, if
you are open to rebuilding and strengthening and taking wisdom from the pain.