Our first hours in New Orleans were celebrated at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, where our service group was welcomed and introduced as the hope of the city. The delightful, lively, and wise Father Anthony expressed his homily through an analogy.
There once was a monkey at the zoo, which noticed a walnut outside of his cage. He reached through the tight bars. Despite his lack of mobility, the monkey couldn’t bring himself to let go of his prized possession. Hence, the monkey was hindered from experiencing anything else because he was held back through his sole desire to hold on to the walnut. Like the monkey, we had to let go of the distractions in our lives and be fully present.
Before that mass, I was not fully aware of the immense devastation that still is a part of the city since Hurricane Katrina happened. The people of New Orleans were forced to let go of their “walnut.” Nature washed away their homes, communities, and in some cases their loved ones. It was awing to see how grateful individuals were for our presence in the city, specifically at our work site, the home of Larry and Donna Breaux, a couple who have not lived in their home in six years.
Laying vinyl tile, painting trim and doors, cleaning up adhesive, stapling tyvek paper to keep out added moisture was the least we could do. In those productive filled days, I learned about the compassionate people around me as well as the need that still exists in the city for volunteers to return citizens to their homes and communities.
We as a community need to let go of the “walnuts” in our lives in order to serve the people around us and be in solidarity with them.
Host Site: Duchsene House, New Orleans LA
The CCSJ blogs are meant to be a place for Creighton students, faculty, staff, alumni/ae, and friends to reflect on their experiences with programs sponsored by the office or related to its mission. The views expressed in these reflections, and all other blogs found on or linked to from this website, are those of the individual authors and are not necessarily those of Creighton University, the Creighton Center for Service and Justice (CCSJ), or any of the University’s affiliates. The University and the CCSJ are not responsible for the actions, content, accuracy, or opinions expressed in these blogs.