How Nature Can Reveal What's Important

Hurricane Katrina was seven years ago, but Times-Picayune columnist Jarvis DeBerry is still feeling the effects. In fact, like some survivors of Hurricane Sandy, he's even grateful for the storm's effect on his life because now he sees what's really important.

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Times-Picayune columnist Jarvis DeBerry writes that, thanks to Hurricane Katrina, he's learned what's really important. As the survivors of Hurricane Sandy end their first holiday weekend after the storm, DeBerry, who lost his own house during Hurricane Katrina, says that Mother Nature's hand made him stop sweating the small stuff.

The storm is more than seven years in my rearview, and yet, every now and then there's that reminder of something that's been retained -- and of something that's been lost. During a telephone conference Tuesday for my high school reunion planning committee, another of the class officers asked who was going to pick up from our alma mater the scrap book that the class of 1993 put together. I stopped her to make a confession. I'd kept our class memorabilia after our last reunion, meant to take it back whenever I was in that part of Mississippi, but my house flooded before I could. It's gone. My face felt hot with shame as I talked. Some custodian I was, hunh?

It makes me chuckle now to hear my wife complain that we don't have enough room for all our books. She never saw what I had then. She should be thankful. Our problem with book storage -- to the extent that such is a problem -- is much more manageable now than it would have been if everything I had had survived.

A couple of years after Katrina, I attended Kelly's graduation from graduate school in Boston. We spent a few days on Cape Cod, came back to Boston and later flew to her hometown of Cleveland. Somewhere along the way, I lost a digital camera. My nonchalance struck her as peculiar. But then she said, "I guess if you've lost a house, losing a camera's no big deal."

Read Jarvis DeBerry's entire piece at the Times-Picayune.

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