I remember Karen, a New Orleans homeowner I met my freshman year. Our team of volunteers had completely gutted her home. Her stolid countenance stubbornly fought back tears as her elderly frame climbed the van-sized mound of gutted debris. She stood atop ruined baby photo albums, wedding and prom dresses, appliances, everything that fills a home… and she posed for a picture.
My camera immortalized a proud and tenacious smile that refused to show signs of discouragement. She was defiant in the face of tragedy, determined to rebuild her home, and dedicated to her community. Gone were all of her material possessions, but what was left is the only thing I’ve discovered to truly matter: human relationships—with her family, friends, neighbors, a group of student volunteers, and now you, the reader—that in part define who she is and how she affects the world around her. These things are waterproof. Read the rest of this entry ?