when the real world hits

next summer i will be a college graduate. this hasn’t completely hit me and probably wont til…next summer, but i’ve been thinking about it alot these past few days.

i’ve had 2 days ‘off’ from work which have been relaxing to an extent. yesterday i spent all day packing up stuff from my apartment and going through random junk i kept for some reason and throwing it away. i scavenged consignment stores, goodwill, walmart, target, and craigslist for anything i thought i could use in my apartment. the hunt was productive, to an extent. i’ve packed a large amount of stuff in my car to take home and take to my new apartment in nashville this weekend :). getting the keys tomorrow and hope to be 100% moved in and living there by the 30th of July. wish me luck.
today was spent somewhat going through stuff but mostly writing 24 letters to the students i taught this summer at the Bridge. each student gets an individual letter from each teacher he/she had stating things he/she did well this summer and things to improve on. this is time consuming to say the least and i am not halfway done, but felt the need to write. i took a break from writing to grab some food and drive around murfreesboro for likely the last time before i move and deep within my mind i realized/pondered some things…
my ‘driving road’ in murfreesboro has always been following out highway 96 to compton, circling through some neighborhoods and coming back to my apartment. a few months ago, on good friday to be exact, the tornado that hit murfreesboro shredded this little neighborhood to pieces. a few days after the storm, i went driving around to see the damage. i did not do this to be a tourist, i went to see if i could help. many people from around the area were helping but i was out of town or in class when they were, so i had my own project. the devastation was terrible. the storm was on the ground for 36 minutes and spanned 20 miles of damage. these houses off of compton near penny lane, etc were just ripped to shreds. some of them. sometimes a house would be devastated and its neighbor would be perfectly fine. tornadoes are scary. i love to watch storms, but tornadoes are the worst. at least with hurricanes you usually have enough warning and they can attempt to predict the path, not so much with tornadoes. luckily only 2 people died because of the storm but thousands of people were displaced. another thing that amazed me, as a sidenote, was how only the starter-type homes were devastated. and all of these homes were typically near neighborhods housing 300K+ houses which were left completely untouched. just an odd thing i noticed.
but back to the point. i had my own side project to help because i’ve known several people affected by disasters, tornadoes in particular and i have a heart for disaster relief. i cannot personally imagine being completely displaced from everything i have and potentially everyone, therefore people deserve the basic necessities to be given to them and deserve all the help they can get, which usually isn’t going to come from FEMA.
before moving onto the main point of this note, today i was driving, as i said a few paragraphs ago, and noticed that many of the houses off of compton have been or are being fixed/rebuilt. it’s taking a LONG time likely because of insurance, etc, but many of these people are getting their homes rebuilt or have sold and moved on and a house is being rebuilt, but there are several, i think 5 to be exact lots in the area that is my personal little project area that have not been rebuilt. one in particular has not even been touched. the house (the bottom floor that wasn’t chopped off) is collapsing into itself. it’s the saddest thing i’ve ever seen. there are children playing outside in a pool next door and this house is collapsing into itself. you can look inside the blown out windows while driving by and see the family memorabilia on the walls. you can see scraps of their lives strewn in their yard. i just wonder what the story is there. i want to help. another house, just across the street from this one has been completely demolished except for the swingset in the backyard. you can find a ‘living with a parent who’s an alcoholic’ book in the front driveway of this home. another house across the street from that one has been leveled and the lot has been cleared except for a pile of brick that someone brought in i guess in hopes to rebuild, but the brick has been there for months. i wonder what the story is on these families? it breaks my heart to see this, but i don’t know what i can do. the home that inspired my project belongs to an old man, i don’t know who he is and i’m not even sure if he is the man who lives there, but his house was devastated and said without even a blue tarp for weeks. the only thing looked untouched was his john deere mower. all of his neighbors’ homes were fine, but his was at the beginning of where the storm touched back down.
i just want to help, but i don’t know what i can do. i don’t want to simply donate money or volunteer to put together care packets, while i do acknowledge those are necessary. i want to build relationships and help these people piece their lives back together. i want to ensure they have the basic necessities. i was able to do this with the help of several members of my psychology honor society and personally deliver giftcards to two different families and it was amazing!
so…i’m sure you’ve been wondering what all that has to do with the title of this blog..
as i was driving around the compton area today, i decided that i want to work with disaster ridden families, especially students, for at least a little bit after i graduate. i’m really not sure what that means, but i want to. i want to go overseas to africa and do mission work at some point in my life, and i want to travel the world and help people, but i also feel it is important to help those on our own shores rebuild their lives as well. last summer i was able to go to Gulfport, MS to help families rebuild from hurricane Katrina and i had no desire to come back to tennessee. i wanted to stay forever. i had planned to travel to Galveston and Gulfport again this summer, but due to technical difficulties or something i dont have control over, those trips were cancelled. but i want to help these people. relief work from Katrina is not completely finished and won’t be for a long time, and i want to help people rebuild. i want to work in natural disaster stricken areas with families and students. i’m not sure what this means. but i feel called to do it. maybe it could mean moving next august to somewhere like Gulfport or Galveston and teaching. i have no idea, but i have a strong stirring in myself, and i feel at home when i’m doing things like that. so pray that God reveals to me what all this means and where He wants me to go with this, and that He shows me if this is His desire or simply mine.
just a thought i had today while driving.
now to head home and write more letters…

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