Lessons I Learned From the Flood
Devastation in Nashville
Life has been flipped completely upside-down for many people in Nashville. Over the past weekend, we experienced a crazy amount of rain, up to 20” in some parts. And it all came so quickly that the rivers didn’t know what to do—except to go places they’ve never been before. Places we never imagined they would go.
The devastation is mind-blowing. The effect this flood will have on our economy remains to be seen, but will most certainly be in the hundreds of millions of dollars. Many people lost their lives. Thousands of people lost everything in their homes, and even more people are left with a huge mess to clean up. I’m grateful so many people have asked if I needed anything—fortunately the waters receded before they came inside my house. Many people in my subdivision, and our town, are really struggling right now.
Sunday was a bit scary, surreal, crazy, and intriguing as we helplessly watched the water have its way with our street. During one of the breaks in the rain, I stepped out into the street to examine the rising waters. I found a small group of my neighbors talking. I discovered that one of my neighbors was afraid because he couldn’t get out of his driveway, and was running low on groceries. I told him to make a list, and we’d take care of it. One neighbor (whom I had never met before) had a truck and was willing to take me through the water-logged streets to the store, and then insisted on splitting the bill with me. Through the experience of our like-minded mission, I made a friend.
The flood of 2010 has taught me a few powerful lessons:
1) The Church rocks. So many people are quick to judge the church as being a place of hypocrites, full of pious posers. (That’s a whole ‘nother discussion!) But when tragedy strikes, it’s the church that rallies their troops and heads out to meet the needs of the helpless and hurting—to be the hands and feet of our Lord Jesus Christ. So many churches have turned into shelters, relief agencies, and more. At its best, the church is vital to the development and survival of a community. This has been displayed to me this week.
2) Everybody has a story from this flood. And they need to share it. This has shown me that whenever people go through something horrible, you might feel like you don’t know what to do, but the easiest thing you can do is listen. Listen as they recount the details of what they’ve gone through. Anyone can do this, and it helps tremendously.
3) When you have a need, please tell someone about it. Pride says, “Don’t ask for help. You can do this on your own.” Humility says, “Hey, could someone lend me a hand?” Don’t hold onto your need—whatever it may be—tell someone about it. And then experience the power of community as you let someone help you.
4) Living your life by giving it away to others is the best way to live. This has been a week of people coming together, giving their lives away for the benefit of others in need. It builds friendships and restores hope to the hopeless. Incredible.
We, the people of Nashville, have been forced to go places many of us have never been before. And I’m so proud of what I’ve seen. I’m so grateful to be a part of a community of people that is committed to giving their lives away to help others. When a need arises, people arrive with willing hearts and open hearts—hope personified.