Tuesday, May 16, 2006

I really wanted to hate this, but ...

I mean, "Children of the Storm" -- Please. LiveJournal poetry. But you know what?
My daughter was asked to write about her experiences over the past year when she came back to school in New Orleans in January and this is what she wrote: "There was a Hurricane. Some people died. Some of them were kids." My daughter was 6 when she wrote that... ... Just do something important with your young life. Don't sit around and wait until you're 50 to suddenly understand how precious all of this is. There's always the story of the bitter, angry old man who picks on little children and never says thank you to the waiter or waitress and doesn't say hello to the mailman. And then one day the old guy gets cancer and a wake-up call, reality check, and he realizes how little time is left and suddenly he's volunteering at the oncology ward at Children's Hospital and he asks after the bank teller's mama and he stops and pets the neighbor's dog and he tells everyone that he can: I never knew how beautiful it all was. Don't be that guy. Nobody likes that guy. New Orleans got cancer this past year. We got our wake-up call and if you're living an existence here that is without purpose and mission, then you are asleep. Twice in my column in recent months I have invoked the words of a Magazine Street barber named Aidan Gill, whose call to arms is the most powerful I have heard since the storm. He said: "A time will come when someone asks you: 'What were you doing about it?' You can't tell them: 'I was just watching it. I was just an innocent bystander.' Let me tell you something: There are no innocent bystanders in this." No truer words have been spoken. I can't tell you what, exactly, to do; how to engage in your community. I wouldn't be so presumptuous; the philosophy here is think for yourself and find your own way. But if finding your own way involves putting on work boots and heavy gloves this summer and going into neighborhoods you've never seen in this city before, then all the better. There are tens of thousands of people and institutions that need help in this community and not all of them are going to make it -- but by God, it's not going to be because we didn't try. It's not going to be because we didn't give everything we had -- our hearts, our souls and our bodies -- into saving this place and making it better than it ever was. Your home. There are no innocent bystanders. Not in this courtyard. Not in this neighborhood. Not in this city. Not now. Not ever.
What he said.


Anonymous Marco said...

You can say it much better.
Found you via Poppy I think.

5/16/2006 11:43:00 AM  

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