This day in history

On this day in 2005, Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast, devastating New Orleans and many other coastal areas in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama.

As I typed those words into a Facebook status for an account I manage at work today, unexpected tears sprang to my eyes.

2005.

Eight years ago.

Eight years since I sat in my office and dialed my brother’s cell number over and over, hoping the busy signal would fade and that I’d get a few seconds of scratchy connection to know he was OK.

Eight years since he weathered the storm in a small house at a Christian camp outside of New Orleans where he was working at the time.

Eight years since that Labor Day weekend when he drove home to Missouri with all he could pack in the back of his truck and came home to stay.

Eight years since the phone call that my high school best friend’s little brother had been in a car accident.

Eight years since that devastating moment when my mom turned to me and quietly told me my friend’s brother wasn’t coming home.

Every year, when Labor Day rolls around, those memories come back. The joy of my brother coming home and being safe. The heartbreak of a friend and dear family who were grief-stricken in the death of a child and brother. I knew then that your heart could be broken and joyful at the same time.

Eight years. It feels like yesterday and long ago. But I don’t stop the tears when they come to my eyes when I remember. I let them fall as I pray for my friend and her family. So much life has happened in the interim. My brother got married and now I have two nephews—but I want my friend and her family to know that they’re not forgotten.

Blessed be Your name
On the road marked with suffering
Though there’s pain in the offering
Blessed be Your name

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