Thank you for all of the kind expressions of care last week. I am happy to say that healing continues and my brain seems fine.
I’m writing from Morning Call on a chilly, rainy morning, the kind that makes you want to stay at home with a cup of hot coffee and a warm blanket. We don’t have many mornings like this in New Orleans, which is part of what I love about living down here. It seems to be popular these days to complain about south Louisiana and the challenges of living here. I’m not naïve – the challenges are real. So are the glories. I’m taking this opportunity to remind us all of some of those glories:
Crepe myrtle trees still leafed out in January…roses in bloom…cemeteries that tell stories of lives lived with gusto…porch sitting…the sound of streetcars…gumbo…Mardi Gras (Crowds? Formal attire? Family fun? Debauchery? Your choice.)…a lake that looks like the ocean…a river that waters a whole country…history…diversity of people (races, ages, temperaments, sexual orientation – we’ve got it all)…herons…pelicans…fancy restaurants…neighborhood dives…universities…live oak trees…big parks…church bells…café au lait…jazz…festivals…I could go on and on, and still not quite capture the essence of a place that defies any easy categories.
Life is short, and it is easy to spend too much of our time complaining about the things that aren’t to our liking. What if we committed ourselves to living with an attitude of gratitude? Think of how much more joyful our lives could be. And what if we took the energy that we put into complaining and put it into improving life for people whose lives are really difficult? Think of the joy we could create for others.
Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church is one of things I am thankful for in New Orleans. A year ago, I didn’t know if that church at the corner of Canal Blvd and I-610 was still open. I had never seen anyone go in or out. Through an unexpected set of circumstances – some might call it providence – I find myself spending a season with you. My hope is that you will be able to be thankful for all that you have and are, while acting on God’s call to share God’s good news with people who are hungry in body and/or spirit. My prayer is that you’ll be willing to journey into an unknown future, because you know that it is the living God who is calling you to do so.
Grace and peace,