I know it has been awhile since my last post, but a lot has been going on all at once. So the house that I have been working on is on Pauger Street which is in the Gentilly area of New Orleans. My homeowner, Ms. Z (short for Zanzer), says the water was up to about 5 or 6 feet and that CNN actually showed it on tv. I can’t imagine the feeling that you would get by seeing your house surrounded by water. Ms. Z evacuated to Texas near Houston when the hurricane was coming through. Her house has been…. interesting to work on. Everything from break-ins to a slightly inebriated woman coming in the house and peeing in my linen closet. Pauger has seen kittens and crime, new volunteers and old ones reminiscing about going to a new house, and Pauger has seen what a group of volunteers and a work site manager can do.
On a different note from work, I have something else that I’ve been meaning to blog about, but I guess I have been thinking of the right way to put it. I went through YAV orientation hearing people talk about going to their sites thinking they were going to be the perfect YAV, and hearing others talk about conflict, troubles, and the trials that we would face during our year. I heard all of that, but I ignored it, I came and thought I was going to be the super YAV… mascot of the YAV program, the one people were going to remember, my face on cereal boxes and coffee mugs, and it would be like the Disney Hercules movie where Hercules had action figures and sandals made after him. Yeah… that was going to be me. But then God threw a wrench into that plan and made me do the one thing that I am worse at, asking for help.
When I say God threw a wrench, I really mean he put a pick-up truck in front of me that had a trailer ball. It sheared off part of my brush guard and sent the rest into my hood. The truck and car in front of it were fine, but I was sitting on the interstate with a seriously messed up car and no idea what to do. I came down here thinking I was going to be super YAV… at that time I just felt like a kid who didn’t know what to do, trying to act like an adult and take care of something.
Thankfully my boss Phil was driving the other way down the interstate when it happened, so he showed up soon after the other people had left and helped me to get to the gas station that was right off the exit ramp. There I waited for a flat bed to take me to the body shop. That was the longest 50 minutes of my life. It was my first week with volunteers by myself, and it was also the first day. Phil went to go tell them and I was by myself waiting for this flat bed.
I tried calling my mom and my brother and then ended up calling my youth pastor Hansen, I figured that he could help to calm my nerves and help me think clearer, which he did do. So after I hung up with Hansen, I took his advice to get something to drink, and when I came back I saw the only humor in the situation which was the sign that I was parked under “loiterers” will be towed, I thought, “I actually do need to be towed, so maybe I should loiter under this for awhile…” I talked with my brother and then my Mom and Dad, and also the geico people multiple times while trying to wait for the flat bed.
The guy finally came and I told him to take me to Kehoe automotive, he had no idea how to get there, which was amazingly useful (sarcasm), but thanks to smartphones, we eventually got there. I walked in with my piece of brush guard that had broken off, and the first thing the people say is “we don’t do body work…” again amazingly useful (again… sarcasm). So I have to continue my ride in the flat bed to LJ’s Body Shop, the guy didn’t know how to get there either… I won’t even say it because we all know it would be sarcastic.
Long story short, we get to LJ’s and the next day I find out that my car was totaled. At that point I realized what exactly God was about to make me do. I had to start asking for help. I quickly realized how amazing the people in my life are (that is not sarcasm). I found out that my friends are more than just the people that I laugh and watch football with, they are people who would go out of their way to take me places just because I ask. These are the trials that YAV orientation was talking about. I’m a person who literally never asks for help, I’ve always been the person who is helping, and even if I do need help, I don’t ask because I don’t want to bother anyone. But I quickly figured out that that wasn’t going to fly anymore and that I would need to be on the other side of things and that I would have to ask for help. I thought I was coming to New Orleans to help the people down here but I have found out that I am being helped just as much.
I can’t thank the friends that I have enough, and I can’t believe that there are people like them who care this much, but there are, and it has really made me realize that everyone at some point has to reach out for a hand.