Welcome to Big Old Goofy World . . . a place where I can share my thoughts, hopes, and dreams about this rock that we live on and call home.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Who Says, "A Little Water Never Hurts"?

We have entered the second day of recovery from the Joliet Flood.  To say the least it has been an interesting day that actually started last night.  Last night there was a meeting of the Joliet City Council--which was actually advertised as a community meeting on the flood.  The wife and I attended the meeting with about  three hundred other folks from the community and surrounding area.  It was an interesting meeting as those in the local government stated that they did everything they could do, and those who wondered whether or not anyone in authority did anything that they could do.  Surprisingly there were not a whole bunch of disgruntled people in the crowd--most were appreciative of the help that neighbors extended in a difficult time.  The big message that came from the meeting and the authorities in attendance was that everyone was pretty much on their own.  The federal  and state governments had no real assistance to offer outside of road repair. In other words, good luck and don't let the door hit you on the way out.  In a way the meeting was disappointing.

Someone once said that "a little water never hurt anyone"--I want to know who the idiot was that said that.  He, or she, knew nothing about the impact of a flood.   There are as many stories as there are people about the impact of the flood upon their lives.  I can only share the stories that I know that are basically from those people who are a member of the church that I serve.  Trust me, a little water can hurt people.

One family in the church lost more than the contents of their basement in the flood.  At this point it looks as if they have lost their home.  With the flood, the rising water table, and the age of their house their problems go beyond a mere wet basement.  The water has caused their foundation to begin to settle.  As the foundation settled the rest of the structure began to shift.  Walls on the main level of their house began to pop as they settled into their new location.  Many of the walls in their house shifted around causing major damage to their house.  The structure is questionable for habitation.  Besides the possibility of losing their home the insurance company added insult to the injury--the company told them that there was nothing they could do--they were on their own.

Several of the families I spoke to spoke of the devastation that the flooding caused in their lives.  One lady lost everything that she had spent a lifetime collecting.  Another lady lost  a lot of the artwork she had done since she was in college--she is in her 80s today.  One spoke of the possibility of losing his house if the water drained too quickly from his house.  And, another lost a lifetime of memories as the flood wiped out all those documents and pictures from a lifetime.  It was sad to stand with these people watching as they cleaned out the years of memories and keepsakes of a lifetime.  It was heart-wrenching to see the amount of devastation that the flood caused in the lives of people.

Last night we pretty much had all the water out of the basement--almost twenty inches--cleared out of the basement of the church I serve.  This morning there was another two inches of water in the basement.  It was sad to discover this, but not quite unexpected as our water table is quite high at this time.  But, none the less, my deepest hope was that the flooding was over for the time being.  Sadly, it was not and is still not.  This is what I found this morning:

 This is to say nothing of the devastation that happened in the community.  I heard countless stories of the flood's impact on families in the community.  It was not good as the flood made a major impact on the lives of many. Some will bounce back well, others will struggle just to make it through the day.  This was one of the houses (of many) that lost much:

A little water can add up to a lot of water.  And that water can make an major impact--a life changing impact.  Ask the people of Joliet and they will tell you, "A little water can make a BIG difference."  The flood of 2011 will be one that many generations in the area talk about--it changed lives.

Sadly to say that there is not much time to wallow in the present and the impact that it has on people's lives.  The National weather service has issued its report--more rain and possible flooding.  An already anxious and nervous people contend not only with a clean-up of epic proportions but also the possibility of another flood.  This sort of news tends to make people a little gun-shy:

To say the least, a little water can hurt--especially when it is compounded by lots of little waters.  None of us knows what tomorrow may bring, but we have to play the cards that are dealt.  The best that we can do is to do the best that we can do.  Today was a long day in which I experienced the awe of those who are making the best of what they can do.  As daunting as the day has been, it has been a blessing.  We do not know what tomorrow will bring;yet, it does not matter.  It does not matter because we have been called to make the best of whatever we are dealt.  That is pretty much all that we can do.

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