Pieces of the broken glass from the bank tower

It was a little tough rolling back into town today. In spite of our best efforts, there’s only so much that we have the power to control. Covid-19, school closures, and two back-to-back hurricanes will teach you that, but you’ll be reminded again and again. I spent most of Sunday morning planning our great escape and caravan back into Lake Charles only to have the 4th and oldest generation in our party call from the highway and tell us to eat their dust. You can’t put your kids in a bubble nor your grandparents. They’ll make their own mistakes or simply be at the wrong place at the wrong time and there’s nothing you can do to control that.

Life still moves along here at lightning speed followed by claps of thunder that represent either the consequences of our actions or things beyond our control. Covid came through like the first wave and knocked many of us to our knees. Small local businesses struggled for air. My family had the unfortunate position of being in the cosmetics industry at a time when the reasonable folks were covering their faces. Trying to sell lipstick in that climate feels like peddling pizzas at a Weight Watchers meeting. It just feels wrong and tacky. We adapted though and started focusing on skin care + delivering local orders to keep our long-standing loyal customers.

Laura hit us at the end of August like a ton of bricks. We rose from the rubble only temporarily because the sister storm Delta followed her path just weeks later to make for a double whammy. Pandemics and natural disasters don’t care what you have going on. They’ll take your lives, spin them around, and drop them into the rubble. When I think we have it hard, I think of the friends who have lost so much more that homes and businesses. I have friends that lost loved ones in the first months of Covid, and the world kept spinning. Hurricane Laura hit us and took even more so imagine trying to bury your parent or grandparent while you’re all away from home. By the time Delta came I thought I’d just be numb to it all but my heart ached for the neighbor who lost his home in Laura then his dad the day we evacuated for Delta. I have another neighbor taken tragically in a car crash while evacuating, and it’s just not fair. That was partly why I thought I’d plan the multi-generation trek back to safety under the guise that together means safe. It doesn’t though.

We returned this afternoon and decided to take a look around town to see what had changed and what hadn’t between the first and second storms. Just several houses down from one of those neighbors is a business that was being roofed as we left. We saw the workers hurriedly putting the final work into protecting someone’s business yet saw today that half had blown away. Sometimes we can lay the very best precautions only to have our sense of comfort and normalcy ripped away. Both were taken too soon. Some family friends had a father suffering from depression that wasn’t able to fill his meds or ask for help, and he killed himself in the aftermath of the first storm. I prayed for them during this second one because I can’t possibly image the pain and trauma another hurricane must’ve brought to them. I hope that by even mentioning the connections to loved ones here that I’m not throwing salt water into an already open wound and leaving families to feel vulnerable and exposed like all of the personal effects out at the street.

Our final stop this afternoon was to collect pieces of the bank tower downtown. The windows were blown all over downtown while the city took its one-two punch. I didn’t think I’d want any kind of reminder, but I’ve changed my mind. I want to make something from it. I want to put things back to together in a different way and maybe make something beautiful. I think I’m going to copy a friend and fit the pieces together like puzzle pieces around an updated picture of my favorite statue after the storms. Maybe I’ll reframe my perspective. There were other people out there with us scraping together what they could so I hope we can all see the potential from what’s broken, pick ourselves up, dust it all off, and put things together in a way that acknowledges all that we’ve been through with others on this crazy ride. It’s all we CAN do, right?