One week ago today I sat in this very spot at work and worried as creeks and drains began to fill due to the heavy amounts of rain in our area. By late Saturday we were hearing of families having to pump out basements due to flooding. It was not long before basement flooding turned to stories of moving furniture from first to second floors to stories of evacuations and boat rescues to stories of total losses and even deaths. The area around our school and in our community was completely devastated. People were seeking shelter and comfort from neighbors and churches and schools. Areas all around Nashville were affected in one way or another. Every river and every creek became a major factor. The Cumberland River finally spilled over into the downtown area Monday causing major damage to our businesses. Story after story began pouring in to the bookstore. Four of our employees from the bookstore were affected and everywhere people were gathering to help.
The comment I can truthfully make about Nashville is that we have pulled together as a family. Those who can, tear out and dig out and clean. People work extra shifts for the families who need to stay home. Food and clothing and other necessities were donated in huge quantities. We attended funerals and buried our dead. Masses are still being said despite the massive energy our priests are using to attend to the spiritual needs of our communities. Many took in families or took care of children so others could go work. Moms are substituting for our teachers and our principals. As in every community, life goes on. There are still those in hospitals who need to be visited and they are. There are still those dying of cancer and there are still the elderly who need to be attended to and cared for and they are. I haven't talked to one person who has not physically or spiritually done something for someone else this week. People are tired and tempters are short and yet we are still coming together every day to care for one another and to love one another and to be a family.
Here's a small example of the exchange program I see going on also. I've been more worried than usual about not doing enough for the people affected in our community. Take your pick. They're everywhere. I have a life long family friend whose dad is dying from cancer and today the family is meeting at his house to decide about care and hospice etc. etc. So my co-worker had left a text last night and said she'd like to cook for them. I text back this morning to say that I was going to leave them some bagels when I got his newspaper and I'd taken over something for them for lunch. She had made chicken salad and we were on target for me to run by at 8 before work. I got plenty of bagels to include everyone so I dropped some off for my children and I took some in for her family. She handed me the chicken salad and a brown bag lunch for me for today. As we swapped meals I couldn't help but think that this is exactly how I'd like to describe Nashville: one hand feeding another, one heart loving another, one family, one faith, one.