Metaphor

Friday, January 22, 2010


New Orleans.

Everywhere, you could see lingering evidence of the storm. Whole apartment buildings stood gutted. Water marks crawled up walls, seeking disguise beneath mossy grime. Houses that had been homes stood empty, windows shattered, gone. There was a boarded-up Walmart that was missing its sign. A Burlington Coat Factory with a Baby Depot hosted only shopping carts in the parking lot. Car lots with spanking new vehicles boasted only temporary or damaged signs. We drove over Lake Pontchartrain on a bridge that had been patched together.

After the storm, there was talk of abandoning the city. Leaving it a ghost town, a silent, eerie memorial to Katrina's wrath. So many were killed. So many lost everything. So many chose not to return.

But some did return. There were new houses, new siding, new landscaping in neighborhoods that still housed condemned and destroyed homes. The city's French Quarter was packed with humanity and gridlocked traffic around the famous Café du Monde. New Orleans was hosting some rather important football game in which fans for both teams wore red and white. And parallel to the patched bridge was a new bridge being constructed of pieces from the old.

At first, I didn't notice the damage still visible in New Orleans. Like any other city I have visited, I was first struck by the character of the city. I could taste its wildness, its passion, its pain, its memory. As we left the city, however, I saw. There was an ache that brought tears.

Aftermath. That was the word. The word that focused the emotions of my journey, my personal storm, the word that focused what I was seeing all around me. And then, hope.

After every storm, there is life. Not everything dies. But the damage - that stays. Unless someone returns to restore it. Unless someone rebuilds what was broken. If someone can see hope for future in the ruins of what was, even what was can be raised again to bring life.

There is no measure to time out the aftermath. It is what it is, and each day is a new day, when piece by piece, old bits of rubble may be gathered, removed, salvaged, turned into something new. It will never be what was, but then, who knows yet what it was meant to be?

...

I ran across this post in my archives the other day, first posted in January of last year, and I thought it bore a repost, which I often think when I reread my old writing after a while. This, of course, got me to thinking that this must be some sort of shameless, narcissistic self-promotion, and I wondered if anyone else felt that way about a favorite post of theirs.

So I decided to turn my self-promotion into an other-promotion opportunity and give you a chance to link up one of your favorite posts from your archives. Yes, this is your chance to promote yourself too. I am being an enabler. I hope this is okay.

When I get my computer back, I'm sure I'll come up with a button for this, but for now, just repost your favorite on your blog today with a link to my blog and drop the permalink into the MckLinky below before Sunday at 11:00 p.m., EST.

Oh yes, and be sure to leave me a comment after leaving your link - just so I know you're here!

If it goes over well, I'll make it an every-other-Friday feature.

And for a promotional bonus: next Friday I will feature a shout-out to a favorite from the posts left here, in addition to my own repost.


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(Image © SXC)

23 comments:

Glynn said...

It's my hometown, Kelly. One day I'll be able to write more about it -- it's still painful -- my elderly mother and aunt deciding to "ride it out," my brother and sister-in-law out of the communication loop for 10 days, relatives dispersed to the winds. Thanks for posting this, though.

katdish said...

I have such mixed feelings about New Orleans. I haven't been back since before Katrina, but I have visited several times in the past.

On the one hand, the French Quarter is vibrant and full of life, but whenever I visited I felt a weight on me. For me, it is one of those thin places. I know that's not the point of your post, but it reminded me of this, just the same.

"There is no measure to time out the aftermath. It is what it is, and each day is a new day, when piece by piece, old bits of rubble may be gathered, removed, salvaged, turned into something new. It will never be what was, but then, who knows yet what it was meant to be?" - Great words of hope. Thank you.

Kathleen said...

"After every storm, there is life. Not everything dies. But the damage - that stays. Unless someone returns to restore it. Unless someone rebuilds what was broken. If someone can see hope for future in the ruins of what was, even what was can be raised again to bring life."

This-I have no words- but thank you for truth.

Laura said...

Oh. Oh. Oh. New Orleans is a very special place to me. We spent part of our honeymoon there. And many times after.

Perhaps you know...I don't remember if we were acquainted this time last year, but hubs took me on a surprise fortieth birthday trip there last March. I did some posts during and after the trip.

It was the first time we had been back since the Great Storm--and since children. The last time we were there I was newly pregnant with our first child. When we drove into the city, we both were silent. The evidence was everywhere still, there in the outskirts. It felt like this New Orleans was and even grander lady...all grown up, having survived tragedy. And we felt different too. We were no longer that young married couple with our faces turned into the wind. It was eye-opening.

As for a past post...funny you mention this today. Just this morning I looked up an old post and re-published it at my place.

Love to you, Kelly. I'm praying you through that creeping in of the darkness. Your comments on my post about Gordon were very touching.

Maureen said...

One of your best pieces of writing (and you have many).

Bridget Chumbley said...

I'm glad you reposted this so I could read it... it is beautifully written!

Thanks, Kelly.

HisFireFly said...

He can take what has been broken and create breathtaking beauty -- like your words!

I've linked up to one of my many posts about our short term mission trip to Uganda.

Joy said...

Oops. I just realized I linked to the original post in the Linky, instead of the repost! I guess I'll just add the second link -- sorry about that!

I feel this post, too. I've been a long long time in the dark stale hopelessness of pain and loss, but I'm finally feeling fresh air and seeing glimpses of daylight again.

Jo@Mylestones said...

"After every storm, there is life. Not everything dies. But the damage - that stays. Unless someone returns to restore it...."
Loved this metaphor, Kelly. I agree with you--it's one of your best posts! (Oh, and I linked up too. Thanks for being an enabler today). :-)

S. Etole said...

How wonderful it is that our Redeemer lives and redeems so beautifully ...

Danielle said...

I love that picture. I don't remember seeing it before. I linked to an old post from three years ago. But it's one of my favorites.

Corinne said...

What a beautiful piece. I've never been, but have wanted to forever...
(I didn't see this before I posted today! I"ll play tomorrow or next time :))

Samantha said...

Some people write on their blogs, but some people put art into their blogs. You are the latter :)

I think the link idea is a great one- gets all your readers involved.

Leeann said...

:) Thank you for *both* your comments on my blog, Kelly, as well for the motivation to look it up. I was actually looking for another one of my posts (my search function doesn't seem to work anymore!), so I ended up reading many more of them than I intended and finding that one. I needed it today, and I'm glad it blessed you, too. Hope it does others as well.
I love you so, so much.

Becky@ Daily On My Way To Heaven said...

Thank you for sharing this beautiful post. I enjoyed reading it...(at that time I didn't "know you")

I am linking to a post that I love to read quite often...how much do we need to kiss and be kissed!

Blessings from around the corner,

deb said...

Incredible, Kelly.
My husband has traveled to New Orleans for work, both before and after Katrina. He will spend a week there in Feb. When we saw the Imax documentary about it a couple of years ago in Vancouver, he was moved to tears, having the the story as a part of him in some small way.

I will link up, just seeing this now.

love to you, and it isn't vain, sharing your gifts.

Deidra said...

New Orleans is a favorite of mine. My husband and I have spent some really great times there. I haven't been back since Katrina. I'm afraid I won't be able to take it...

I love your words about the aftermath. We all live in our own personal aftermaths of something or other, don't we? Already I can tell I will be thinking about that word throughout the day...

I gave the message at my church last week and my daughter called to ask me how it went. She asked, "What metaphor did you use?" because I always use one when I speak. And so...this post spoke to me on many levels. I'm glad you self-promoted.

I left a link. Thanks.

Claire said...

Kelly this was certainly worth a repost and no ego was visible. Thank you for sharing.

The aftermath of sin leaves its scars but I find more than hope, I find faith in knowing that God is allowing sin to play out to its rightful end. He is allowing this so that we can fully understand just what it means to have Life.

Anne Lang Bundy said...

who knows yet what it was meant to be?

In my aftermath, I thank you for those words.

Dianne said...

Oh my, Kelly, I feel so dense. It seems that everyone except me knew where to go for the comments so I wouldn't change a thing if I were you. Actually, I love the little bubble with the number in it and don't have a clue how I ever missed it. Thanks for clueing me in and I love all of your writings. Dianne

travelmom said...

As always, a very thoughtful piece. Beautiful picture as well.

Heidi said...

What a fun idea this is. :)

Abigail Jasmine said...

Such a great photo..and your banner, as well..

You are gifted with the ability to write.

love is a verb,
Abigail

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