The longest day (Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2005) gave way to the longest week – Wednesday, Aug. 31 through Wednesday, Sept. 7.
After a cup of coffee Wednesday morning, Kimberly’s Dad, brother and I patched the roof with tar paper. It was a hot job, but it didn’t take too long. I cleaned up, changed clothes, loaded the van and hit the road.
For a brief moment, as we headed into the unknown, we felt like refugees. But quickly, we snapped back to reality. Our plight wasn’t all that bad. We were in better shape than many of our city’s poorest residents. Though we were experiencing a difficult situation, our discomfort would be brief.
We got lost a few times in Atlanta looking for the Decatur Holiday Inn Select. When we finally made it, we saw a few seminary people in the lobby. After a few brief conversations, we went to our room and watched the news. The reports just made me angry and confused. It was nice to have power and a/c, but I didn’t sleep much that night.
Thursday and Friday brought hard work. The NOBTS team split into two task forces – one to address student relief and another to address the continuation of classes. The task forces reported back that afternoon with good, solid plans. NOBTS would continue its mission.
I immediately began writing two articles. I worked hard between phone calls – there were phone calls from everywhere, seeking information. I finished the two articles Friday morning and sent them to Baptist Press and our web administrator. I worked the rest of the day, but I don’t remember what I did.
That afternoon, we were released for the Labor Day weekend. In fact they gave us an extra day off. One catch, we had to move out of the Holiday Inn on Saturday. Kimberly, Jonathan and I didn’t really have anywhere to go. Kimberly’s parents still didn’t have power and we couldn’t travel to Oklahoma and back in four days.
One of Kimberly’s college friends, who lived in Cumming, Ga., agreed to take us in for the long weekend. We got up Saturday morning, packed and headed to Cumming. On the way, we bought a few clothes and other much-needed items.
For the most part, time seemed to stand still Sunday through Tuesday. We had reached information overload. Questions still weighed heavy on our minds. At moments I was tempted to despair … but I didn’t. I was thankful to know I would still have a job.
On Wednesday, Sept. 7th, Kimberly, Jonathan and I moved into a one bedroom unit at the Clairmont Crest Apartments (a senior adult independent living complex in Decatur, Ga.). The seminary set up the arrangements and found beds and furniture for each apartment. The apartment was really too small for us, but we were thankful to have it. Jonathan quickly became a huge hit with the elderly residents. Getting a place to stay was a nice bookend for a week that modulated between frantic busyness, endless worries and painful boredom.
Something amazing did happen on Sunday, Sept. 4. I’ll share that later in another note called “Katrina Stuff: Blessed Be the Name.”