August 29th 2015 is the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina coming ashore, leading to the devastation of a place I have called home! I had the opportunity to reside in NOLA in 2001. I fell in love with the vibrancy and life of the city. My heart grieved as I watched the horror unfold on television.
I had to return to bring a glimmer of hope to the people and place I loved. I have led seven trips back to the Gulf Coast. I have seen the city try and return to its glory. I have also heard the complaints about NOLA. Why rebuild when the whole city if below sea level? They got what they deserved! Who would want to live there? Even though I have resided there only a short time, I still call that place home. NOLA is home to many people. Image your home being leveled. How would you feel? Many of us have felt these same feelings. Maybe it was a storm, a tragedy, a crisis or trauma. Something that shattered your worldview. We can overcome. The memories never go away. The story becomes part of your story. We carry the scars with us, and they add to who we are. There is hope that we can overcome and celebrate once again. But it is a long road. Sometimes that road continues after the media is gone, after the help is gone, after the memories of those less involved is gone. But we still walk the road to recovery and celebrate the small victories along the way.
My style of martial arts is Shorin-Ryu Karate. It traces back to Okinawa. The people of Okinawa have a similar story after the horrendous battle during WWII. Approximately 90% of the buildings on Okinawa were destroyed. History was lost. Meaning and memories were lost. The story of my style changed. Even though I wasn’t there, wasn’t even alive, I hear the stories of those who went before us, the Shomen and it gives me hope. So continue on your road, your path, your journey. Continue to tell the stories so that others may know through you; others mean learn following of you; others may know because of you. Tell the stories of your heart.