Tuesday, December 26, 2006

And So This Is Christmas...

I keep hearing in my head the lyrics to that song "Happy Christmas (War is Over)":
So this is Christmas,
And what have you done?
Another year over
And a new one just begun...

It's Christmas again, for the 2nd time post-K, and what have we done? It was hard putting myself into the Christmas spirit this year with the constant thoughts running through my head that things are not looking good down here, this long after the fact. Even though I was surrounded by family and loved ones, there weren't as many as usual because some of them don't live here anymore. Everyone who was there didn't seem to be in as festive a mood as in past gatherings. Maybe it was just my own perception, but a friend from New Orleans shared that her family gathering felt more subdued, perhaps even a bit depressing, too. After all, Baton Rouge just isn't home to them -- not yet anyway. Last Thanksgiving and Christmas was like this too, but that was to be expected less than 4 months after the fact.

I am certainly not ungrateful for the people and the things I still have and for this Christmas, which was still more than many people will ever have. Still, it's not MY Christmas, and I can't help but wonder how many more Christmases before Katrina doesn't dominate our conversations and our new lives, and when our "new lives" will just feel like regular ole everyday lives.

Hope, however, does spring eternal. Otherwise, why would we still be here? Fortuitously, for the first time since I can recall, I wasn't infuriated or completely disheartened by the news. There were actually developments to be hopeful about. The new Congress will FINALLY look into the fat no-bid disaster contracts that went to already wealthy companies well-connected to the White House. State legislators have wised up to the notion that they should question ICF's contract, and are finding some questionable allocations. Democrats and Repubs from LA and MS may actually unite to take on the insurance companies, now that they've even screwed Trent Lott. The Saints (need I say more?). Hell, who knows? Maybe Nagin will miraculously wake up mute next week!

Whatever the case, or however down I feel today (and I must keep emphasizing that this is how I feel today, right now), I have no choice but to keep going because at this point the alternative is an even less acceptable option. It's not like anyone promised any of us blissful holidays for eternity anyway, and who are we to demand such?

1 comment:

slate said...

Being the eternal optimist most days, I think that the "new life" will become the "life" before we know it. We just have to slog through the crap to get there.

I nevertheless understand what you're saying. I'm not a pollyanna, but truly feel that if I give up hope, I'm doomed. I can't imagine living anywhere else, no matter what.

BTW, thanks so much for you comment re:the writing. Meant more than you'll ever know.

Happy Holidays, EJ!