Cultivating the Soul

Celebrate the earth! Here is a picture of my former roommmates and I volunteering for an organization called Bayou Rebirth in New Orleans, Louisiana. It feels suprisingly theraputic to get your hands dirty in soil, especialy if it's helping to replenish a rapidly vanishing coastline. Living in New Orleans for a year opened my eyes to important issues plaguing the community. One particular concern which manifested  during my year of service was the detoriation of our environment. Down in the bayou, the community watches the land dissappear before their eyes monthly. It is an issue hidden from view for most of us busy with immediate concerns in our overly modern lives. Natural beauty is the purest kind of beauty. Creation is meant to be marveled at, appreciated, cultivated. But we often find ourselves stepping on it or around it to get the next step on our ladders of upward mobility. We end up ruining the space created for us to thrive and live.

Additionally, the very real aftermath of Hurricane Katrina heightened my awareness of how closely we are connected to the earth. The physical devastation from the horrible storm is visible throughout the city even years later. The cracks in the streets, the collapsing houses, the scarce patches of land. The damage runs deep, leaving a dent in the souls of all who call New Orleans home. However, the wonderful thing is the spirit of the city is anything but broken. They embrace the earth, the culture, and most importantly themselves. The city taught me many things about what it means to live. It taught me to appreciate what's around you, to preserve what is natural while you can, because we live in temporary circumstances.

Easter reveals that there is hope and there is rebirth. I believe in this renewal for the land beneath our feet and the natural wonders that spring up outside our doors. If we nourish it, it will in turn nourish us. It may be strange to think of having a relationship with the earth but it is that relationship that has the most potential for growth. I encourage everyone to get their hands dirty, to plant, to replenish, to give back. It is more than just our duty, it is a blessing bestowed upon us from God which we need to cultivate to nourish our souls.

(c) 2012 Katie Turpen

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