20 November 2005


Two and two-thirds months have elapsed since Katrina slammed the Gulf. Gifts of time, tools, money, prayer, and support enabled me to work a solid month of time for those devastated. Also with the 4 weeks of work add on 12 travel days, because my house is 1OOO miles from the affected area. My biggest hope is that I was able to be a blessing to the people I helped, because this time has been the biggest blessing to me. I've been given much, and I tried to carry it forward. Others will have to judge the final outcome. All I can offer is that it felt great to me, seemed the right thing to do, and I'm immensely grateful to my boss for allowing me the time to go. I've tried to remember everyone who helped, and thank them. Also I thank the few faithful readers I have. All this has been a priviledge, and its hard to balance two things in this web journal. On the one hand I love to write/talk about myself, tell you all how cool I am and what great things I do, and best of all post pix of myself in cool action poses that delight the eyes and inspire the imagination. Also with that I acknowledge the temptation to sensationalize these days. I mean it works for the newspapers, why not my blog?
The other item to balance is letting the folks back home know how I'm doing. I mean, if I gave someone money to travel with, I'd like to know they went where they said, did what they promised, and didnt go to Epcot Center on my dime instead.

cartoon at right drawn by my brother-in-law WR, inked by me.

Mostly what you've got in my blog is gritty boredom and/or reality. Oh to be sure if I had performed some heroics and rescued families or what not I would have written it all up with vigor. And honestly, I would have asked those helped to pose it over again so I could photograph the action for the blog. But there I was cooking and helping in the mass feeding kitchens, which isnt the farthest thing from glamorous, but you can see what is farthest from there. I speak of the camp in Slidell, of the camp in Biloxi I say this:

"Well, if there's a bright center in the universe,
you're in the kitchen it's farthest from."
but even that's not a fair characterization. There were minor joys to be seen or heard in the midst of the chaos, sweat, and devastation. I met new Christian friends, got to know some old ones better, and it even sparked some new conversations with old buddies back home. The biggest plus will probably be having met Ms.Vikkie. She became a friend that first week, is slowly becoming a good friend, and if current trends continue she'll be a great friend.

So what has "the Rebuilder" rebuilt, specifically? I gave myself the fancy title and set myself up on a mission with direction back at the beginning of this journey, and its time to do some accounting. Well, so far, I've rebuilt precious little in a physical sense. Again I cannot judge what my comments, advice, singing, and testimony to people down there may be worth. Maybe a lot, maybe a little. If I had evangelized dozens, I would tell you in heart-warming detail; what I can say is that I did fix breakfast for those who did. If I had rebuilt several familes homes, I'd post the pictures for sure, what I can say is I did fix supper for those who did. If I had given a devastated family hope and direction, I'd write up a glowing report for you, but what I did see is some sleeping in the tents beside me who had.

I love to sing. I'm half-way decent at it, and its another part of my exhibitionist personality. A few times when singing down in the gulf area (either by myself or with a group) I'd catch a local just staring at me. Maybe it was because I was getting the words wrong, or maybe off key a little. But I'd like to imagine it giving out a sense of hope.

Don't tell my boss:
but I did some networking down there, and may be able to parlay these activities into a new career. No; not a singing career, unless I'm really off my twig. So the three main items to be rebuilt are me myself and I. Seeing other people lose their homes, their jobs, their cars, and maybe even a family member makes you really take stock of what you do have. So at least one thing that's been rebuilt would be my list of what's important.

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