Beauty is only plaster deep.

20 Sep

This is a blog entry I wrote the first day I was in New Orleans.. just got around to posting it : )

I’m quickly falling for New Orleans I must say. I guess that means I believe in love at first sight, considering I’m sitting here at the end of only my first full day in the city. I haven’t even been to the French Quarter, or any other place that is iconic for that matter, I’ve just seen a lot of the real parts.

We walked to the church in front of our house, and on the way there was a really cool mural on a picket fence of a man playing a trumpet, and there was a verse:

Proverbs 3:27 Do not withhold good from those to who deserve it, when it is in your power to act.

Message Translation: Never walk away from someone who deserves help; your hand is God’s hand for that person.

We met a man named James who is a grounds keeper for the church. He was super friendly and had a lot to say. He was here when Hurricane Katrina hit…. in fact, he was barbecuing that day. He was apparently one of the thousands on the streets outside of the Super Dome after the devastation. He said he liked to tell his story to groups who came through, so they could know really why they are here.

This gave his story a purpose, and his story had power.

There were some wealthy people in certain neighborhoods that were getting bent out of shape about the appearance of their neighbor’s lawns after hurricane Katrina. Somehow their neighbor’s non manicured lawn affected them deeply enough to do something about it. So after these people complained enough, there were ordinances put in place by the city about how you should keep your lawn. If you didn’t cut your grass and it got a certain length, you got a $500 fine A DAY until it was cut. People had to leave their homes because of the damage from the hurricane.. and while they were gone the fines piled up. They were no longer able to come back because the fines were too much to handle, not to mention the fact they had a whole house to rebuild.. Missions teams are coming in and simply painting houses and mowing lawns.

So we go around putting bandaids on cancerous tumors…

The houses here for the most part are beautiful on the outside. The colors are bright and no two houses are the same. But if you were to open the front door of a lot of these houses, there would be nothing. No walls, no floors…. nothing. Just the massive destruction the Hurricane left behind. The problems these houses hold are wrapped up neatly with a bow, and hidden by the beautiful color and facade that is on the outside. Mission teams are coming in and simply disguising the problems.

This seems counter productive, and not helpful at all, but the thing is.. if these houses look on the outside like they do on the inside, the city simply comes through and levels them or repossesses them. If they don’t keep the lawn manicured, the fines pile on these people who can still barely keep there heads above the waters of Hurricane Katrina to this day….coming on 6 years later. So even though it seems they are putting a bandaid on a wound that needs surgery, this is a step that needs to be taken in order to move in the right direction.

I wonder what the inside of these houses.. and the heart of this city would look like if people actually listened and followed Proverbs 3:27. I wonder what each of our lives would look like if we actually lived that verse out in our lives. There wouldn’t be fines placed on destroyed homes and families… there would be neighbors going out and mowing each others lawns, no questions asked. We wouldn’t ignore the people who are empty and decaying inside. We wouldn’t just focus on their appearance, we would really be concerned with what’s going on inside.

There is potential for this Earth to be a beautiful place.. not just plaster deep. We just need to tap into the generosity that is asked of each of us.

Proverbs 3:27 Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it is in your power to act.

This is definitely something for me to ponder while I’m in New Orleans.. and also the rest of my life. This city speaks, and has loads to teach me.

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One Response to “Beauty is only plaster deep.”

  1. Lisa Wright September 21, 2011 at 5:26 pm #

    I love the way you write. It is like I am right there with you and can see the people’s faces and the destroyed empty beautiful homes. I miss you soo much. I can actually close my eyes when I read your thoughts (postings) and see right into your heart. You have a gift and I am so glad that you have been chosen to do it for good. You rock my world! I love you more that you will ever know. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooMom

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