New Orleans. No place like it.
As a young adult from Mississippi I used to visit often. Having lived away for years, I’ve recently begun to reacquaint myself with the city I once knew well. While it’s the same sleepless city, I’m a whole new me.
Yesterday with my glass of almost unsweet tea, I sat on the only empty bench in the Central Business District. Busy area off Poydras, horns honking, sirens blaring, and many smells from the various restaurants nearby. On either side were people sitting alone. One man appeared to be homeless, keeping watch on his crumpled sack of belongings. On the other side I heard crying, sobbing at times. An attractive well dressed woman with her thumbs busy messaging someone back and forth, angry thumbs having their say. As I sat I tried to imagine what could have landed them to this spot, one homeless, one hurting, and me in the middle.
My bench had its own set of problems. As I prayed over mine, I prayed over theirs as well. Seemed the least I could do. Eventually, my tea was gone, my prayers amen-ed, and I moseyed back to my hotel. Hmmm.
Nostalgic. Having learned to be “alert to life” from a mentor I interviewed years ago (Florence Littauer) I’ve learned the value of paying attention to what is happening around me. It’s not because I’m noble, it’s because I don’t want to miss life as it speeds passed. Too much to learn.
In that moment, my past met my present. Had I sat on that bench years ago and tried to fast forward, I could not have predicted one single solitary thing correctly. Like most I’ve had some happy and some hurts, but at the end of the day, I’m thankful to be here, right where I am, back in a city I once knew. Thankful it hasn’t changed, but oh so thankful I have.
Places! If you are going to go anywhere, pay attention! Otherwise you are just as well to stay home. Be alert to the things around you, to the people beside you, and to the changes inside you. You just might realize you are right where you are supposed to be.
Let your past meet your present, and thank God for His hand that is stretched over both. Today’s pick of the day.