It has now been 2 weeks since the epic rains that flooded Nashville.
Though the sun is shining today, there are still many reminders of the devastation that occurred: large spots of brown grass where destroyed home interiors used to sit, piles of cleaning supplies and clothes line the halls of churches and community centers, and signs throughout the city encouraging us that “We Are Nashville!”
Having come back from vacation, there are many things we’re finally able to do and places we’re able to drive for the first time: We’ve been able to return to the YMCA, kids are back in school and most businesses are beginning to open and operate again. But the knowledge of the work that remains weighs heavy on most of us hear in Bellevue.
Kariss had field day on Monday, and when I complemented one of her classmates on her dress, she cheerfully answered, “Thanks! One of my friends gave it to me since we lost all of our clothes in the flood!”
Could you have held back the tears?
I think I did, but barely. I know I could not have embraced that joy if I had just lost everything I owned…especially at the age of 6.
In his book “My Utmost for His Highest”, Oswald Chambers has an entry entitled “The Explanation for Our Difficulties”. Here is just an excerpt:
God is not concerned about our plans.
He doesn’t ask, “Do you want to go through this loss of a loved one, this difficulty, or this defeat?”
No, He allows these things for His own purpose. The things we are going through are either making us sweeter, better, and nobler men and women, or they are making us more critical and fault-finding, and more insistent on our own way. The things that happen either make us evil, or they make us more saintly, depending entirely on our relationship with God and its level of intimacy.
Though I cannot speak nearly as deeply as Oswald Chambers, I do have a few thoughts I wanted to share based on what I’ve experienced these past few weeks:
*No one expects tragedy – but what you lack in preparation you can make up for in response.
*If we all seek to care for others first, we will all be cared for, but in a much more selfless way.
*Grieve, but do not grieve as those who have no hope. (1 Thess 4:13)
*Everyone has something they can give, even if it’s just themselves.
*Remember what the word neighbor means…and that it doesn’t just apply to people who live next to you.
*Don’t just stand there and look at others’ loss: pick up something, deliver something or carry something (even if it’s just another’s burden). Please stop gawking at the devastation and instead engage in the rebuilding process.
If there is one thing I can say as a result of this tragedy is that I’ve never seen a community come together and care for each other like I’ve witnessed neighbors helping neighbors here in Nashville. I am proud to be part of such a community and to have worked alongside such compassionate people.
Even if you don’t live in Nashville, here are just a few of my favorite organizations that you can support who are making a difference in people’s lives here:
Even though these are the images of Nashville now in the midst of clean-up, know that we are rising again!