There are so many things running around in my head and I'm so very tired that I can't promise this post won't be a tumbled, jumbled mess...but here goes.
I am trying to come up with an adequate way to put into words what my experience has been like these past few days as I try to do some small part to help those whose lives have been turned upside down by the floods. Here's the best way I can describe it:
Think of moving day and how bone-weary all-out exhausted you are when you get all your belongings to your new home. Now picture taking the hose and soaking down everything so it weighs about 3 times what it should. Then picture dragging this heavy load not to a shiny new home, but to the curb to be picked up by sanitation services. Oh, and then pull out all the carpet, padding, insulation, flooring and dry wall remembering that the water it is soaked in is a fetid mixture of sewer, diesel fuel and god only knows what else. This is the part I've experienced, the physical part. And it is horrendous and crushing, but my muscles will heal. The rest I've only witnessed.
Now think about every sweet memory you possess in pictures, cards, letters, trophies, souviniers, babies first lock of hair and more. And think of the crushing emotional weight of having to sort through those things only to realize most of it will join the remains of the rest of your earthly possessions on the curb to be picked up like trash. And then think of having lost your husband, wife, mother, brother, son, daughter or pets as well. And possible your livelihood. It is completely incredible to me that any human being survives something like this.
To say it has made me realize what is important is an understatement. There are events in your life that will change it and you forever. Your life will never be the same after you come through those events and this is certainly one for me. I am re-examining everything about my life and myself. What is truly important? Why am I here? How have I lived so shallowly until now? And how can I change that in the future. How could I fail to change it, having experienced such things. This is definitely not a "aren't i so great" moment because I'm getting my hands dirty. It's more of a why haven't I been getting my hands dirty for the past 40 years? Why haven't I spent myself on doing things that really matter? I'm going to find a way to live this out every day. Not just during the flood recover, but every day after that as well. Maybe the flood has washed away some of the debris of triviality from my soul. I certainly hope so!