It was one of the hardest things I ever had to do. And I am so glad I did it. I am so glad I met all of you. Thank you for coming to my workshop.
It was so encouraging to see your smiling faces, to hear your brilliantly creative ideas, to encourage you to write your story.
We got back last night, not too late.
Exhausted. Happy. But sad.
The devastation of Staten Island wasn’t easy to see. The beaches were messy and you could see the piles of debris from the loaders but, you couldn’t see the damage until you were inside.
We brought drywall (sheetrock) to one woman’s house and her son would install it himself. She was in her living room with her husband the day of the hurricane. It was his birthday and they were determined not to leave the house. He blew out the candles on his cake and then the waves came crashing through her living room patio doors, right into them. They ran upstairs somehow, climbed onto the roof. She lost her son 2 years ago to sleep apnea. He just never woke up. I just held her hand and let her cry and we prayed with her.
We had to adjust the screws in another house that had been flooded. The team before us had installed the sheetrock and we were checking the screws and puttying the holes. She lost everything.
Another house had been completely flooded. She knew the storm was coming, so she put all over important items on top of her dining room table. She didn’t have a second floor like her neighbours. She went to a friend’s house and waited. She couldn’t get back to her house for three days. Hers was the only one destroyed. Every single thing she had was ruined. Every memory of her parents, every picture she kept of her childhood, every stitch of clothing was completely ruined. She grew up in that house. Lived there 40 years. It was our honour to hang drywall, to putty the holes, to sand them down so they would be perfect for new paint. She was so worried about her friends two streets over. They had three kids. They had less than she did, and yet she had nothing. We worked at her house for a few days, prayed with her, talked with her. Reminded her that she was loved, that there was hope, that there was help.
Oh, how your heart stays with them when it’s time to leave.
A Mission Trip, actually.
Did you know I’ve done two? Did I ever mention it? I can’t remember. And if I knew how to scroll through my own website, I’d take a look. But I have a feeling I haven’t mentionned it. Hm.
Next week, hubby and I head to Staten Island with a friend of ours. Remember Hurricane Sandy? Flooded everything terribly, especially Staten Island. Well, through NAMB (North American Mission Board), we will be hanging sheetrock in homes that were affected by the flooding.
I don’t know what to expect. Our first trip to Cameron, Louisiana was mind-blowing, and that just wasn’t from seeing mattresses up in trees still. The second trip to McDonough, Georgia was incredible and I got to cook and clean toilets the whole time. It was marvelous. This time we get to drive down, which means I get to pick up some ‘special food’ for my ridiculously intolerant stomach. We get to sleep in tents, shower in trailers and we get to just love on people and help them.
That’s why we are here, right? To just love on people and help them?
That’s what I thought.
listening to: dog wagging her tail and licking her lips as she waits for me to take her outside to play
eating: turkey. turkey. turkey. and more turkey. maybe some chocolate.
writing: erm… I need to start up again tomorrow…
Where have I been?
Well, where haven’t I been?
Actually, I haven’t been anywhere. Just writing. And editing. And sending to editor/person and editing some more.
But today I was brave.
I spent four hours obsessing over it and I finally sent out my first query.
Time to get me a YA agent.
And now I wait.
Oh golly this is stressful.