"I have kept the Faith...."
All of us who have worked on the Gulf Coast in the aftermath of Katrina have experienced both the frustration and the deep, spiritual satisfaction of our work there.
I have selected portions of two emails sent to me recently. I share these two perspectives, because I think we can all relate to them both:
John Olsokovsky, former Red Cross Shelter Director and subsequent volunteer in Pearlington, is not a man prone to cynicism. This day, however, was a hard day for a sensitive man:
“I visited a friend in Pass Christian while there. I forgot about the bridge being out and had to backtrack to work my way around. He was originally in the Gulfport Red Cross shelter and I found him a temporary home in Lancaster, South Carolina. He now has a FEMA trailer two blocks from the rubble of his home. The FEMA trailer park is a raw, gravelled setting with a fence around it and nothing else. Frustration levels are still high among the residents. That whole stretch of coast looks like a hurricane hit it LAST WEEK! There is obviously no easy solution for recovery. The government can only do so much....the money isn't there to replace everyone's homes or jobs. In some ways, the situation is more heartbreaking than it was in September, since the publicity has died down and much of the country has moved on to other concerns. Who really cares about Dick Cheney's ‘hunting accident’?”
Quentin Holden, recently returned from Pearlington, writes:
“When sheds are finished in Pearlington, Conrad has a ritual of writing something in the sheds. Halpern had the honors since he spent the most time on it. He wrote “God Bless from the Dog Soldiers” and then signed his name. In everything I do with the Dog Soldiers, I learn something about myself and about humanity. I would like to thank the team that went down to Pearlington and the Dog Soldiers for giving me the opportunity to make a difference.
One last thing. Whenever I did something good when my Dad was alive, I would call him up.
This was one of the times I would have called him.”
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith.”
- Paul's Second Letter to Timothy
God bless you both, men.