April 20, 2020: RESILIENCE
It was a week after Katrina. I was out of the Superdome and ministering in Baton Rouge.
“Mr. Jim, Mr. Jim, I heard.”
Samantha, a former Covenant House resident from the late 80’s, was jumping up and down. She and her family had flooded out and were sleeping on the floor of the Convention Center.
“Are you doing alright?” I asked.
Samantha looked up at me, smiled and said, “We got this. We’ve been through a lot more than this before.”
For a formerly homeless kid, like Samantha, life on the street was worse than Katrina.
Yesterday morning, Troy stopped by just to check on us and to make sure we were doing okay. We are family: his aunts and uncles.
“I am doing great. Working hard at Landis Construction,” he said.
I love Troy. He was born with a disabled hand and arm, though you could never tell on a basketball court or on a construction site. As providence would have it, Troy is working for the same company that built Covenant House in 1987.
Troy was a trainee in our White Dove Landscaping program about five years ago. He used to always joke with me that he planned to set up his own competing landscaping business.
“It’s going to be called Black Dove, Mr. Jim,” he would smile and joke.
Tawana, a volunteer, a board member, and just an amazing person was a resident ten years ago. An elderly couple found her and her two-month-old son in a Walmart parking lot around 11:00 pm and brought them to us. Tawana was a survivor of domestic violence.
She graduated third in her class from high school while working forty hours a week at McDonald’s and living at Covenant House. She is one of the thousands of our many star graduates.
Tawana is currently working on the front lines in a medical clinic in the ninth ward. She, like all health care heroes, has continually been exposed to the virus – and was recently quarantined.
Last week, Tawana sent me the sweetest note.
“Dear Mr. Jim,
Thank you and your amazing staff for all you are doing for the Covenant House youth. It’s extremely stressful working in the medical field at this time, but you all give me strength to persevere and hope in the darkness.”
Oh no, darling. You are the one who gives us strength and hope every day.
Your resilience, and that of your fellow Covenant House alumni, is unbelievable. Absolutely, grace-filled!
You are true light, to me and to us, on those days when fear seems to be winning the battle with hope.”
The Lord bless you and keep you;
The Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious unto you;
The Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace.