I'll admit, I've put off writing this for a week. I needed time.
Nothing's changed, so I guess its time to reflect. But how, Steve, HOW?
How can I be poignant without overdoing it? How can I explain what it's like to ditch the last spring break you'll ever have, exchanging beaches and hotels for debris and tents, thongs and tans for cockroaches and insulation-itch? How can I explain to any person looking at a screen how it feels to be called a hero?
We didn't even have to wear tights.
In all honesty, if seven days changes your life, how the heck can you EVER explain that? And concisely? To random strangers?
Perhaps we can show them pictures of canoes in second story windows, and fathers riding mattresses like rafts while screaming for their lost children. Perhaps we can show them a concrete bridge which looks like the victim of King Kong hopscotch, just so they can see the power of the world, and the destruction it leaves behind. Perhaps we can show them cities, desolate and abandoned.
Perhaps we can show them videos of people crying for their lost homes, and again six months later, but because their new roof has just been completed and they can already feel the relaxation of falling asleep in a real bed.
There's so much hope, and so much love.
Perhaps we can show people what its like to find a home for a lost animal, to fix a daycare center, to give a child a playroom and a hard working mother a place to take a shower at the end of her day. Perhaps we can show the smiles of hurt people realizing they are not forgotten.
Perhaps we can show how pleasing it is to smash through a wall with a sledgehammer?
Perhaps we can show the unexplainable; the benevolence of an investment banker who's given up his ten-thousand-a-month cushion for a tent somewhere in Mississippi, the gracious southerners who, even though they lack a stove, will NOT let you work on an empty stomach, and we can show the eagerness of volunteers to get dirt under their nails and really DO something for strangers thousands of miles away. How can you convey a feeling of pride stronger than you may ever feel again?
Thing is, I don't think I can. So I'm going back in two months to get some more.