Friday, March 30, 2007

Getting it

I figured something out, yesterday. It happened in the course of two phone conversations.

First, I did get to talk to my priest, in between writing yesterday’s entry and posting it. We talked for about 20 minutes, about what it is and was like to be here, what I’m experiencing (and why the hard things are so difficult), and the conversation I’d had with Bill Terry+ at St. Anna’s. Tommy’s really excited about the work that the Diocese of Louisiana is doing. They’ve shifted focus completely away from caring about anybody’s sexuality, and are totally committed to serving the people most affected by Katrina. There are so many great projects happening here.

Hearing that, lit me up. I’d been thinking about how to continue this work at home, and we’re going to talk about it when I get back.

Then at bedtime, I called the Apostle in Exile. I said to her, “I wouldn’t work with this organization again. But I’d come back here, and do this work, in a minute.” Coming here, to this third-world situation in my own obscenely wealthy country, has given me more empathy for all such situations. I’ve always cared. But I’d never felt compelled to go outside of myself, until I’d seen with my own eyes how the poorer people in New Orleans live. Fifteen minutes from the 9th Ward, is the bustling, happy, touristy French Quarter. I have genuinely had a lot of fun there. We’re going back today, to play. But the proximity of these two opposites makes the dichotomy too obvious to miss.

I’m going back tomorrow night, to one paper that’s late already and to a project I’ve just asked for an extension on. I miss my church community more than I miss taking showers, and I’m ready to go back. School right now doesn’t feel real to me at all. The mission bug has bitten me, hard. But coming here is only a small piece of this; it’s essential, but we’re limited to what we can do in one week. I’ll know if I’m truly called to this, if I continue the work at home. I already know that I’m a good organizer. I can’t wait to start experimenting.


Mimi said...

I am so glad you have had this experience, my friend, and that you have had these epiphanies. Thank you for bringing us along on the journey.

Eileen said...

Yes..what Mimi said, Kristin!

I am among those who was aware that New Orleans is in trouble, but not to what extent it is still in trouble.

Thanks for raising my awareness.

Apostle In Exile said...

Yeah, you're getting it. Alleluia!!!!