Tuesday, September 13, 2005

A House...A Home

Meet the Gomez family...now you have some faces to put on the name "Katrina."

Click to enlarge.

These are the members of the Gomez family currently staying with Amy and me. We are ecstatic to be able to provide them with a "safe" -somewhat normal- living arrangement.

In the photograph, the Mom, Lee, is standing in the back, her son Michael is the tall guy on the left. Michael is 20 and will only be staying with us a few days before heading for Houston where he has friends. Ana is next to Michael...she's 18 and enrolling this afternoon as a freshman at the University of Texas San Antonio with hopes of studying art. Lee is also enrolling in college. The youngest son is John´(pronounced like the French Jean) and he is 13.
For now Mr. Gomez is opting to stay at the shelter about 20 miles south of us because he is hesitant to distance himself from the health care he is receiving there. Mr. Gomez, Michael and Lee all have some health issues worthy of prayer in and of themselves. There are medicines they need...Lee lost her eyeglasses which should be replaced in a couple of days. These needs are being met via the bureaucratic process and quite frankly I get the impression the Gomez clan is more used to dealing with the snail-like pace of the government than I am...so again I suspect God is sending more teachers my way armed with lessons in patience.

I promise Lord....one day it's gonna take.

In truth, I have only spent a few minutes with this family. I had a late meeting at work and caught up with Amy and the gang at Whataburger (the family's first trip to a Whataburger - they were quite impressed) and then Lee and Ana went off to enroll in college while Michael and John´opted for a nap - yes, we're going to get along fine.

Some say you can't tell much from first impressions, but here's what I can tell you. This family has been through an ordeal most of us can't - nor would we want to - imagine. They were at the Coliseum in New Orleans when no one seemed to know people were at the Coliseum. They witnessed brutality...they witnessed death up close and ugly.

This little family has seen humanity at its worst - perhaps its most helpless - but not its most hopeless.

They literally "lost" their father in the chaos of it all - Lee and the kids went to East Texas and Mr. Gomez came to San Antonio. When the other family members found out where he was, they came here - thanks to the help of some generous folks in the Baptist community - to join him. However the sight of the shelter in San Antonio was too much for them. Although it's clean, well organized and a far cry from their previous surroundings, it is crowded with people...and their minds are still crowded with unpleasant memories of places far too similar.

So 80 percent of the family is at our house, and one family member is across town. Soon Michael will be a couple hundred miles to the east. But I don't think this will ever be a family separated by anything besides distance.

These Gomez folks are strong. They smile a lot. They are happy to be alive and thankful for the blessings God has bestowed upon them. They have a vision of the future and a plan to get there and they know they have each other.

Amy and I and our church family, as well as loving friends from the Internet, will do our best to make this family comfortable here. I pray we can remind them of the better aspects of human nature, and maybe help make sure they never lose sight of what "home" is really all about.

Then again, I suspect God may use them to remind us of the very same thing.