How drastically one’s life can change in an unexpected moment! Two years, almost to the day after our first Halloween flood, we watched water creep in under the outer doors. “It’s coming,” I shouted. As far as we could see, water surrounded us. Once again, we had water front property.
Who would believe we were being flooded a second time in two years? By the time the water began pouring in, we had taken as many things as we could to the loft. Once water crawled across the floors, we grabbed pillows, blankets, water and some food and climbed upstairs to safety.
We would be out of danger in the loft. Electricity would last unless the water reached the breakers in the garage. No reason to be afraid. We waited and watched. Water climbed over the bottom two stairs. No reason to panic. During the first flood, water rose halfway up the staircase before we broke a window and climbed to the roof. This time, I felt secure. No fear. It would not be necessary to go to the roof. (Even so, my husband, Chris contemplated which window we would use to make an exit.)
By late afternoon, our son in law, Todd made his way to our block to rescue us. Spending the night with first one daughter and then another, turned out to be fun. For two nights in a row, I read bedtime stories to our youngest grandson, Elliott. Both daughters and family made us feel comfortable. On day five, we moved to the bedroom of Ken, a neighbor and friend.
Water has an insidious way of destroying. Mud from a flood does not wash off easily. It stubbornly clings. When we had the first flood, our children and older grandsons came from around the nation to dig us out. They worked slavishly to remove every single item from the house. I did not want to involve our children again. “Do not come. We will be fine. It’s not as bad as before.” Kirsten ignored me. Despite my protests, she came to scrub mud and clean and polish furniture. I continued to insist, “We can do this. Yes, it’s an awful muddy mess. We have seen worse. It’s doable.”
Now, I ask, “What can we learn?” The first message insists that we leave the house in its ruined condition and move to higher ground. (Originally, I threatened to move to Pecos, Texas where I grew up.) The greater message reminds us that material things do not define happiness or worth. We rebuilt the house exactly the way we wanted. Maybe we made the house too important. Now, we downsize again, which will be easier this time.
We pray for families around the nation and the world with much greater losses, pain, and destruction than we can even imagine. As weather goes, we got it easy. Faith comforts and reminds us of all the goodness in life. A little more mud to clean off, a few more items to move to safety, and we begin the next chapter.