Four years ago hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf coasts of Mississippi and Louisiana.
We have been frequent visitors to this part of the world, as some of our favorite family calls it home.
This weekend we went back for the first time since the storm. If you had never been there before, you might not notice that the place is in a state of renewal, but if the area was familiar to you... oh!
What struck me the most was the sense of impermanence. Places that I took for granted would remain long after I was gone, are now nothing more than a rubble of brick or a smooth, concrete pad. On my in-law's street, driveway after driveway leads hauntingly to nothing. Places where homes once stood are now being overgrown with local vegetation. Birds and wild life are now at home where bedrooms and kitchens and family rooms once housed human souls.
And yet... there is new growth everywhere. Buildings such as these pictured are now dotting the once defeated landscape. Brightly colored, built above the storm surge, evidence of life and hope and growth and renewal dot this ravaged landscape.
My sister and brother in law now live in a home redone. They reclaimed it from feet of flood water, hundreds of pounds of fallen tree and debris. They hauled and cleaned and lost and lost and worked and remade the home where they raised children and fed friends and prayed and loved and grew and still, ultimately lost. They lost much, but not as much as some. And in the end, they gained... a beautifully redone home. Yet... the Katrina hurricane will remain a pivotal event in their lives.
Everywhere along this coast the evidence of tragedy lingers. And in its wake, hope and renewal grow. Bright and clean and full of life. The human spirit shines. Perhaps no more brightly than in the face of tragedy.