Friday, October 17, 2008

So God is like mud ....

It's our last day here in Dulac, and I'm not quite ready to leave. We've got half a day of work left to do on Glenda's home, and then we're off to New Orleans, a city I've never visited. I've heard all kinds of crazy things about that place, which was so devastated by Katrina three years ago. I hope it lives up to expectations!

Yesterday was such a productive day. We keep beginning earlier and earlier - hence my decision to just post pictures yesterday rather than try and make a coherent sentence at 7:15 in the morning! The team went again to Glenda's house to finish dry wall, mud the walls (which i now understand is the correct term for putting up joint compound), and start the flooring. We're putting down luan over the sub-floor of the trailer so that Glenda and her family can have hard wood floors in their home. I'm thankful to be gaining all of these new skills - i can now measure and cut for drywall, put it up, and then mud over it to make a wall. The members of the VIM team who've done this type of work before are really excellent teachers, so I'm confident I'll be able to use these skills on my own home some day. 

All the progress in the house means that we're one step closer to leaving. We're worn out - I can see it in the faces of the others, I see it in my own face when I look in the mirror. Not many of us are used to being on our feet for so long during the day, or if we are, we're certainly not this active. I feel like I've been doing Walk-in Mission every day all day for a week - it's exhausting! Although we're tired, I get the sense that folks here would love to stay and see our pet projects until the end. I would love to be present when Glenda's grandchildren (the five that live with her: Debo, DeNisha, Jordan, Roger, and the other I can't recall) see their new house, the place where they'll sleep and eat and play and grow. I would love to hammer in that last nail, put that last floorboard in place, paint that last stroke - whatever it takes to bring Glenda home. Phyllis, the site coordinator who's been working with us this week, promises us that she'll send a team back on Monday to continue the work that we've done, but selfishly, I wish it was our team that could do it. 

At devotions this evening, I led the group in some reflection time. Where have we seen God this week? What will we take with us back to Washington DC? How will this journey change us? While each person's answer was compelling, it was Jim's that struck me the most. "I think I've seen God in the mud this week." He meant, I think, that just as we see bayou mud from the hurricane all around us, everywhere we go, really, God is all around us, too. I don't mean to suggest that the presence of this mud is a blessing in Dulac - it's not. But it serves for me as a visible reminder of something I'm prone to forget - that even when I forget to look, even when I'm not paying attention, God is staring me in the face. God's love is all around us - we're surrounded by it. God's love sticks to us like the mud - and just like the mud, it's hard to shake off, and in Dulac, impossible to escape.

Although I'm sad we leave today, I'm comforted to know that the love of God will continue to surround these people that we've come to care about so very much. May we all keep this love at the forefront of our minds - and may we not need bayou mud to remind us how precious we are to the One.

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