I hear that phrase said constantly here in the American South. It’s only been during the flooding and in the ice storm of 2009 that I’ve seen it acted out daily. People are literally doing things for the sake of goodness. At times like these, I’m rather proud of our small Southern towns. People help one another.
Thursday, I realised I had some items checked out from the library that were more than a bit overdue. In fact, they were overdue to the tune of a $6 fine. I was mortified; I’m hardly ever late with library items for more than a day. When I went to turn them in, I apologised to the librarian profusely, citing flooding as the cause of my lateness, as well as the cause of the newly-warped DVD booklets. She backdated everything and completely took away the fine. I nearly burst in to tears on the spot. Yes, it is a very small gesture, but it has amazing ramifications. At that moment, someone very obviously cared about the situation and acted on that feeling.
I’ve seen things like that happening all about. Neighbours are coming together to sandbag houses, people not affected by the flooding are bringing food and essentials to shelters, and volunteers are working round the clock to help comfort and provide for people displaced by the rising waters. All the while, entire communities have waited nervously to see if the floodwalls and levees would hold. In spite of the tension, though, people are truly acting to help others. At the shelter where I stayed, complete strangers began to seem like family. We were there to comfort and help each other, just as people were doing outside the world of the shelter. Some of us will probably stay in touch long after the waters recede.
We’re not out of danger yet, but the rivers are receding slowly. Many of the small towns directly against the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers are still fighting against additional flooding. Houses, including ours, have been lost. Farms have been destroyed. Businesses have been ruined. The structures and lives that have been damaged will take months, if not years, to repair. But we *will* rebuild. It’s what we do. In any situation, the sun does rise eventually. Life moves ahead. We might struggle with our losses and the darkness of immediate recovery. Eventually, though, we will look back on this as a turning point in our lives, a time when we were forced to use our strength and resources to start over. We will eventually see it as a beginning, rather than as a dark and difficult end.
Thanks so much to the National Guard, Red Cross, and many many people and organisations who have been invaluable to us. Many of you continue to stand by us as we start the recovery stages, and we are all so very grateful.