My favorite kind of reading is that which lingers with me a day later and won’t let me go. It keeps nudging and prodding me, bobbing to the surface of my thinking, insisting that it needs to be thought through and applied and maybe passed along.
I shall now pass along several.
First, two from the op-ed page of Saturday’s Times-Picayune. Then, a moving story from the Madeleine L’Engle novel I’m reading, and a fascinating little story from the latest New Yorker magazine about how we elect our leaders. All are worth a few minutes of your time, I’m thinking.
“Creative Expression is a Lifesaver” is the title of Cecile Tebo’s colum. She’s listed as the NOPD’s Crisis Unit administrator.
Cecile tells about her post-Katrina depression. Her house had been flooded and ruined, her children placed with relatives around the country, she was living with a friend in New Orleans, and trying to hold down her job at her crisis unit. When a close friend ended his life, she about lost hers.
“For days I tossed and turned in bed unable to lift the veil that had descended upon my soul. ON the fifth night the unimaginable happened: I wrote.”
For some, that would have been no big deal. But for Cecile, she was facing her greatest fear. Writing had been a huge chore going back to childhood. But now, the thought occurred to her, she needed to write down what she was feeling.
“As I lay in bed watching sun rises and sun sets, I knew that I had something to say. I could feel it burning inside. My head was filled with thoughts–anger, sadness, disbelief, grief, confusion, fear. I felt that thes were thoughts that other people needed to hear, but I had no means to share except one way: to write.”
She turned on the computer and wrote for two hours. She sent it out to her friends, and a miracle happened. Next day the Times-Picayune and CNN both called, asking if they could use her letter.
And that started it. Since then, she has written more than 30 articles, with 15 being published.
Some of our readers will remember Rudy and Rose French, who came to New Orleans from Canada after Katrina and made such a difference here. When they left, a couple of years back, I suggested Rudy write a journal on their experiences. That writing turned into a book, “You Can Learn A Lot from a Hurricane.”
Many times when a pastor is terminated or goes through some other kind of trauma in the ministry, I will suggest he get a blank book and take 30 minutes each night and write his thoughts. To me, hand-writing is better than using a computer, but whatever works for you.
It could be a lifesaver.
Second article on the op-ed page is from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Cynthia Tucker about Shirley Sherrod, the woman unjustly fired from the USDA last week due to a misrepresentation of a speech she had made.