Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Dear New Orleans,

How are you? How are things down there? I know you are devastated and feeling lost, but I want you to know that I think of you fondly and often. I feel sad for you. There is no way I can comprehend the pain and suffering you are going through, the despondency, the hopelessness and helplessness. I suffer here, too, in my own quiet way. But your silence is vast and incomprehensible. There are dark secrets behind your fun-loving veneer. Those of us who grew up nearby know some of your past, but it seems as though many of your secrets will be secrets forever - lost or forgotten or ruined.
I know you are doing your best to recover. They say that the healing takes a long time. But each day gets easier. Keep up your spirits, take the high road, think big. It's not easy, but I know you can do it. I have known you all my life. You are resilient and strong-willed, tough yet nurturing, focused but aloof.
We may not say it nearly enough - we love you. You are important to us. We want you to get well and be strong and prepare for the next time. If you can't do it for us, do it for yourself. Whatever you do, don't give up hope. There are lots of us who want you back stronger, better than before. And we know you can do it. We pray for your recuperation daily. Did you know that? Everyday we think of you and pray for your survival and well-being. You can and will beat back this setback.
Take this opportunity to fix the wrongs you did to those who loved you. Give them a chance to come back and welcome them with open arms. Forgiveness is powerful. Sure, you did somethings wrong. Who doesn't? But fixing those wrongs is a big deal and a big responsibility. I know it's tough, but try. Some people need to hear from you that you did wrong, but you are going to try and do better next time. Maybe they will forgive you and try to do better, too.
I hope that I wake up one day and this is all gone away. I know it won't be, but I do hope. And there are a lot of other dreamers out there, too, hoping for the same thing. We love you, we miss you, we want only the best for you, and we hope that things get better for you soon. You deserve it.

Thinking of you,
Stephen Mitchell

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