The nastiness and the beauty

Published 12:00 pm Sunday, August 14, 2022

Hi, all. Just a thought to help start your weekend. 

One of my favorite sights in New Orleans would be the trolleys running up and down Canal Street. Although I’ve never ridden one, I’ve watched many. They are identified by the red paint color and the ringing bells.

New Orleans can provide a sensory overload of sorts. There is so much to see. Now, granted, I have seen some things there that should never be seen. There are so many sounds, too, especially the loud jazz music played on the street corners or by a group of individuals marching down the middle of the street, oblivious to the vehicles trying to make their way through the mobs. But I’ve also heard some things and had some things said to me there that should never be said.

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I’ve witnessed the throwing of the beads during the parades; I’ve felt the downpour of drenching rains while caught walking through the French Quarter; I’ve seen the public drunkenness and all states of dress or lack thereof. I’ve also been witness to the smells of New Orleans, from the wafting odors of fresh beignets, very strong coffee, and fried alligator to the very unpleasant smells of public nastiness unworthy of mention. And yet, through it all, it is such a fascinating place to visit.

Our lives are full. Parts are pleasant, but some are far from it. There is the sweet smelling blessing but also the nose burning smell of sin. There are the beauties in our world, such as the ornate St. Louis Cathedral at Jackson Square, and then there are the unpleasantries of the bums sprawled out in the middle of the public walkways. Life brings a variety of experiences to us. And each and every one of them make us who we are today.

New Orleans wouldn’t be New Orleans without every single one of the things I mentioned above. Every one of those things enhances the experience. Every one of the things we go through, or even step in, in our lives enhances our witness. The nastiness helps us appreciate the beauty. The sour smells help us appreciate the sweet aromas.

As you meander through the back alleyways of your week ahead, be ever mindful of the sounds you hear, the sights you see, and the places you step. You just might not truly appreciate the beauty of life without them.

Just a thought. ’Til later.

Rev. Brad Campbell,