I was not raised in Mississippi, but it always feels like returning home whenever I come here. Home, to me, is where my mom is. My parents live in Waveland, MS. It is about an hour away from New Orleans. I love coming here. Last time I was down I was able to run along the Mississippi River in New Orleans and watch the ships going in and out of the harbor. I love running along water – there is something so majestic about it.
This morning I went for a run along the Gulf. They have a lovely sidewalk path to run along. On one side the view is water, on the other used to be beautiful houses. Now there are empty lots. Yes. Still. After nearly six years since Hurricane Katrina tore this town apart, there are still empty lots. Seeing the many empty lots is sad, but there is still a lot of life in this town. It is a life the revitalizes me when I come here.
The people who are still here love where they are and believe in their town. They maintain hope – a hope that never left, even while the hurricane destroyed everything they weren’t able to take away with them (for my parents, that was pretty much everything).
That unrelenting hope is what I need right now. Coming home reminds me that there are worse things in the world than what I am going through emotionally. Coming home, and seeing the rebuilding of this town during these horrible economic times gives me the strength to push a little bit harder. Coming home gives me the unconditional love of my parents…parents who look at me with pride, no matter what I am doing, no matter what I look like…no matter what.
***Tomorrow…I teach my mom how to run! We are going to step up her walks with a little walking/running. I am so excited to pass on my passion to her!***