I sit here staring at the computer, knowing there’s so much to say, yet I’m unable to pull my thoughts and emotions together to say it. I reverted to a trick I learned years ago for gathering thoughts and organizing them. It starts with a blank sheet of paper and ends up looking like a many-legged spider with pockets of thoughts at the ends of his legs. I might blog about it someday if I could remember the author and book where I learned of it.
When I wrote my blog the other evening, my husband and I had just gotten back in contact with our world after two days of being cut off. Being incommunicado (no phone or Internet) still felt like a big deal. We wondered how our friends were, but with no communication we didn’t know that thirty families in our church had been hit. Many, like so many other in the community, lost everything. Almost no one had flood insurance. One couple still have their home but lost their entire $1 million dollar business. And those are only a few stories I know. Suddenly the inability to communicate fell into a whole new perspective.
With four days of sunshine and summery temperatures, the rivers have returned to their banks, including the Columbia that devastated several blocks deep of downtown Nashville all along its banks. But the wreckage left behind, both physical and emotional, will have our worlds upended for a long time to come. In addition to no insurance, whatever does one do with a house that once suffered a flood like this?
Yards are now piled high with trash as the homes have been gutted right down to the studs. Our grandchildren and their parents spent days this week helping both friends and strangers deal with this aftermath. Our granddaughter posted a beautiful piece on Facebook about how it has affected her.
Our church has set up a disaster relief center, with water and food from a local food bank, clothing and “everything” donations, and meals cooked and served by our own people to those who have been affected. My husband and I spent several hours there today. We experienced frustration because not as many people were finding us as we would have liked—but those who did went away helped.
So how am I feeling now? I’m getting a stiff neck from shaking my head so much in dismay. I’ve worked to get word out to our friends that we are okay, but at the same time I’m having trouble focusing and applying myself. I came home from church intending to make cookies to take back tomorrow, but they didn’t get made, at least not yet.
I am not the only one dealing with “survivor guilt.” Why were we spared when so many dear people were not? Did God think we weren’t strong enough to deal with it? Of course there are no answers, and my head knows I must not nurse that emotion. God has His purposes, and He doesn’t owe me or anyone else any explanations.
My biggest prayer is that this disaster will turn people’s hearts to God and not away from Him.