|Images imprinted on my mind forever:
Volunteers bringing their boats to help with rescues – asked to write name, social security number and next of kin on their arms in case they are lost in their rescue attempts;
A nursing home living area full of residents – one sitting in a recliner, submerged in water to her waist, awaiting rescue;
Signs posted on every bridge and flashed across TV, social media, and on radio announcements throughout the storm:
TURN AROUND. DON’T DROWN.
A middle-aged lady in a just-reopened Kroger saying she waited until the end of the day to come for her few necessities, “Mamas with their babies should be in line first.”
A rescuer coming in on his boat carrying a small fawn – It had gotten on a roof and I couldn’t just leave it there.
A mandatory curfew imposed on the city – no tolerance for looters – a handwritten neighborhood sign: You loot. We shoot.
These images on television, my own rising water out the back door. Even as the water began to recede in my backyard, it only rose in others. We went to a sweet friend’s house to help pull soaked mattresses and soggy clothes and waterlogged toys of out of her home – 3 1/2 feet of water, possessions already molding – they lost everything except each other. Their street was piled with the accumulated belongings of every house . . . heaped mountains of personal effects.
I said to Steven on our ride back from her house (12 miles that took 2 hours because of road closures and flooded streets), “Will life ever feel normal again?” At Home Depot we were buying masks and coveralls and bleach when we should have been buying rakes and autumn yard flags. The huge display of fall mums looked out of place – who could buy flowers when your neighbor didn’t have a place to live?
When the emergency alarms went off post-hurricane on Thursday, my heart stopped and I burst into tears…it was only a test of the system. I’d heard those alarms simultaneously on the TV and every device we have, every few hours for four days: hurricane warnings, flash flooding, tornadoes.
I do believe that life will one day return to some kind of normalcy, but it may be a while and it may look different. God will heal the fear, the hurt, the loss because He cares. He will allow us to again see the beauty of fall mums and gentle rains and neighbors helping neighbors. He is teaching us what we value most: how quickly we can let go of things and hold tightly to people. He sees and is working in each and every circumstance.
And so He calls us to trust Him in the recovery . . .
He is God – in and out – of the storm.
Today is a GOOD day!