I can't sleep again. It has been nearly three years since the Hurricane and memories still haunt me every day. Sometimes it is the big things that trouble my thoughts like all broken homes and lost community. Friends and family who are no longer close enough to touch. People that I love who lost all thier joy. At other times it is the more mundane, but nevertheless, troubling losses that dominate my mind. On occasion, what becomes a matter for too much concern are the simple things that should be of no concern at all. Like I remeber driving through an old neighborhood and they replaced an old local favorite Poboy shop with a furniture store. I had to stop the car I was so upset. It seems silly now but nevertheless these trivial concerns impose themselves on my thoughts at the most inopportune time. Although of little consequence, they matter. Perhaps that is why they matter. Because so many of the little priceless components of the city have been lost. In my first trip back to the house I scoured my room for this small wooden cross that had been given to me by a little boy I tutored from church. I looked in the yard outside (I have a large window that broke in the winds) and in the rooms all around. I never found it. With all that was lost, for some strange reason this simple item haunts me. My family was lucky to have recovered at least some of our family tresures and a some of our family photographs, there are days when I still have thoughts about that cross and somehow feel incomplete without it. The boy gave it to me at the end of the school year I tutored him in. He struggled alot and I used to bring him things when he would make progress. I know bribery isn't the best way to learn but it was never anything large and I thought it to be harlmess. At church on the last Sunday before I went away to school he proudly brought me the small wooden cross he had drawn on and decorated with stickers. He had seen one in the supply room and asked if he could have it and took it home to make for me. I asked him why he wanted to give this to me (and not his mother or his Sunday school teacher, his brother, ect). He said to me "You always bring me something when I do something good." I told him that I hadn't done anything good but thanked him for the gift. He told me that I was good at teaching him how to read and ran off to wreak havock on the auditorium with the rest of his brothers. I never saw him again. I have no idea what happened to him and his family after the storm and I whole heartedly hope they're alright. They were poor and their mom mentally disabled (she was possibly mildly retarded, unable to read, and most definitely more than a little crazy). Its things like this that keep me up at night, wondering about people and if they made it out ok and where they are now and if they have any joy left (because so many that I know don't anymore). I can never seem to stop the wheels from turning once they get going.So far, the only way I've figured to combat all these overwhelming questions is to focus my mind on all the things I'm grateful for.
So tonight I'm grateful for New Orleans, my church family there, the great kids we get to work with, snoballs, crawfish, lemonade, my amazing friends and family, excitement about my new house, knitting magazines, the rain I got to sit and watch tonight, ceiling fans, toothbrushes, peanut butter, fleur de lis, hairspray, the oak tree in our backyard, and pig tails.
Maybe now I can go to sleep.