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Thank you for letting me understand
homelessness, living without power,
without television, without cool air in the heat.

Thank you for letting me understand
hunger, the pleasure of dry clean clothes and
the relief of place to sleep.

Thank you for letting me understand
the deep and overwhelming sadness
when forces, beyond our personal control,
take the loved, the familiar, the usual.

Thank you for my needfulness and
Thank you for my newfound empathy
for those were homeless before the storm
and homeless now, for those hungry
anywhere, for those in need everywhere.

Thank you for the opportunity you provided
to help my neighbor, to be my brother’s keeper,
to serve food, to patch roofs, to clear yards,
and to start mending that which was broken.

Thank you for the chance to change ourselves,
from a reprieve from the normal commercial day,
for teaching us to make do, to get by, to improvise,
for drowning our conceit, complacency, callousness
for silencing the noise , for stopping the clock,
and for the chance to act our best when the worst occurred.

Thank you for the people who reached in
pulled out the living, cradled the dead,
comforted the broken and torn apart,
wept for the splintered and uprooted.

Thank you for the people who didn’t wait
who came right away, who opened their homes,
who emptied their shelves, their closets,
who cleaned, fed , healed, held us,
who told us our spirit was amazing,
and who keep on coming.

Thank you for people who measure
their faith by their actions, and measure
their action by its consistency with their faith.

Thank you for all the people we have met,
who are new friends, new loved ones,
new brothers and sisters, new neighbors.

Thank you Katrina. Not for wind,
not for water, but for the appreciation
of the things no storm can shatter,
no water can wash away,
no wind can move.