Today I've watched with horror and a fascination that is like watching a reality television show. If I ever turned on the television, it was almost impossible to tear myself away. The destruction is so widespread that it's unreal. Entire subdivisions of homes are flooded. Cars are fully submerged and likely ruined. People are being rescued in boats. Today Ashland City, close to where we live and where lots of our friends work, flooded and was evacuated. There are curfews in towns all around. People have died.
As I watched people being evacuated today and followed along with the local evacuations on Facebeook, I wondered, "What would I do if this were me and my family having to make the decision to leave our home -- knowing that it might be in ruins when we returned?" I wondered, what, exactly, would I want to take with me -- knowing that it would all have to fix in the truck/SUV.
As I pondered it, I looked around my house and thought, what is irreplaceable? What are the things that I would need to survive for a period of time that is undetermined?
I determined that the things that I would want to pack/take would include the pets, carriers and food/water for them; clothes for Ellie and Josh; toiletries; my camera; as many photo albums, scrapbooks and memory books as I could find, clothing for Kevin and myself; Josh's stuffed cat; Ellie's blankets; important papers (assuming I could FIND them!!), our video camera; food; medicines, our laptops. How do you start over with so little? Many people on the news have talked about evacuating prior to flooding and being able to get their furniture and things of that nature out. I've tried to ponder the things that would mean the most to my children. What are the things that they would miss most. What if there was very little time?
I heard a story on the news today about a man who was evacuated from his house via boat. The one thing he took? His daughter's prom dress. Her prom is next week. What a dad!
Today we raided the "stockpile" that we have amassed through couponing and took a load of supplies to our local high school where a shelter for displaced families has been set up. Diapers, wipes, toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoo, bandaids, non-perishable foods; razors; shaving cream; "girl" products -- anything I could think that might make things a little easier/better. It blessed me more than it could ever bless them. I was so pleased that God had put this in my heart to stockpile and buy really cheaply so that I was able to share when there was a need.
This is a crisis that won't be going away for a LONG time. The waters will recede; roads will open back up, but the clean up of a natural disaster of this magnitude will take weeks, months, even years to recover from -- if ever.
Places like the Grand Ole Opry -- flooded; Opryland Hotel -- flooded; LP Stadium (Titans' stadium) -- flooded; malls -- flooded; post offices, restaurants, homes -- everything you can imagine -- flooded. It boggles the mind.
Thursday night lives were going on as normal; plans were being made for the weekend. People were making comments about all the rain that was going to fall over the weekend. By Monday, people were homeless. That quick.
Take time to be thankful. Take time to love someone. Take time to help someone affected by the flooding. This summer our mission field won't require us to go to a foreign country; it will be right in our own back yard. We will have the opportunity -- no, the responsibility -- of helping our own neighbors try to build back their lives. Lives which will forever be impacted by the flood of 2010.
UPDATE: I continue to mull this around in my mind about the things I would want to take. As my days go by and I pass things I realize, "I'd HAVE to take that." or "Why didn't I think of that??" So, I would like to add: each of our special Bibles and family Bibles, what few pieces of jewelry I have (not much at all -- mostly some sentimental things from when I was a kid that I want to share with Ellie), and mine and Ellie's adoption folders.