Spring has arrived. We moved our clocks ahead. Everything is starting to look very green around here. John has had to mow the campgrounds. The Camellias are blooming.
My girls arrived for a week on Saturday. Saint that he is, Beaven is keeping the grands over spring break while Emily and Elizabeth each spend a whole week’s vacation time here with me. I’ve had them sanding drywall and doing some of the data input that comes with this job. It’s nice to have them do my homework for me after all those years of the other way around.
Then, almost as soon as they go home to claim the kids, Beaven is coming for a week. He’ll pack me up and I’ll leave Pearlington for home.
This job began on November 26th, my sixtieth birthday, the first day of the last third of my life. I’ve never felt more alive, healthy or energetic. It is crystal clear to me that it was a call from God that brought me here.
One of my kids asked me how many houses had been finished during my time here. After I thought about it, all I could come up with was three. They were a little surprised and disappointed. On the surface it does seem like a small number for four months work. But you have to understand that my work is only a small cog in a marvelous and gorgeous wheel. There is a delicate balance of matching the current volunteers’ talents to the building needs and that can cause the recovery to move slower than conventional building. Then electrical and plumbing inspections move at their own undecipherable schedule. There are many cogs in this wheel. Yet, even if I turned the wheel only a fraction, it still counts. It’s still forward motion.
For those who have been reading this blog on a regular basis you remember Chloe. Her house is finished and they have moved in. I got to go by and see the house Monday night. It’s more beautiful than anyone imagined. We’re going to have a House Blessing tonight at 6:30.
Monday, I had a call from Chad Smith, the man building the new sanctuary for the First Missionary Baptist Church. True to his promise, Rev Rawls is steadfast that we worship in the new building on Easter morning. So, PDA is going to help clear out the construction debris to get it ready for worship. They still don’t have lights or pews inside but that’s no big deal. We can loan them portable lights and chairs. These are people who worshipped God outdoors after Katrina tore down their church. They can worship anywhere.
I issued short news alert last Wednesday about the newest commercial endeavor in town—a Corny Dog stand. I’ve eaten there….well, let’s just say more than once in the last week. I can report everything Hattie Wade serves is delicious from the Chili Dogs to the Shrimp Po Boys. Not to mention the French Fries.
With the new Corny Dog stand and Chloe’s new house and God’s new house, we’re having a whole string of exciting advances in Pearlington, Mississippi. I’ve come to think of it as my soul’s hometown. A town I never would have given a thought before Hurricane Katrina. A town that crept into my heart over a year ago, scratched out a little place and set up housekeeping. People who have blessed my life far more than I have blessed them.
I only have one more week here and I leave with mixed emotions. I’ve been here four months and it’s becoming hard to remember my old life. But I’m ready to go home. I have a garden to plant and two youth events coming up. There will be a few adjustments for me. I may call folks “honey” or “baby” for a while. I will have to fight the urge to shout “Amen!” during worship back home. And I might occasionally make a U-turn in the middle of the street for a while or drive the car in reverse when it suits my needs. I’m excited to go home and, at the same time, I really hope I get to do this again sometime. For all the times I‘ve agonized over the difficult parts of the job, I’ve enjoyed it more than I have agonized over it. I have a feeling I might get a little bored back in my peaceful old life.
The season has changed back into spring. This was a good place to spend winter.