The Wandering Poet

Buffy Brinkley on the Things that Inspire my Life, my Pen, and my Heart.

We’ve Lost Something! Let’s Get It Back!

on August 28, 2017

Imagine a house or an apartment building. Imagine it a place of love. People come and go as they please. It’s a place of safety. A place of serenity. It’s a place that has seen love and joy, pain and sorrow.  Much like any normal place on Earth. It’s home.

Now, imagine that water begins to rise around it. The inhabitants have no way of knowing if the water will recede or if it will continue to rise.  The inhabitants must make the decision to stay or go.  But, go where?  What if the alternative destination is no safer? What if that alternative destination will not welcome their children or their pets?

The water continues to rise. The inhabitants try to raise their furniture. They try to save as much of the lives they’ve built as they can. They know that when water reaches the electrical sockets, it could cause electrical current to enter the water; it will definitely cause power outage.  Do they dare sleep?  What if the water rises in the night? Dare they risk drowning? Do they rotate standing watch?  In the dark, water rises like an oil slick and all darkness looks the same.  There is no escape. Maybe they’ve waited too late.

The water rises. It’s chest-high now. Everything that was on the ground floor is ruined. Some of it has been carried away by the water. Some of it floats nearby, in the room too small for it to come out of, but that which held it in the perfect spot just yesterday. Water encroaches upon the stairs like an unwelcome guest; a serial killer with an inescapable weapon. There’s no place to hide. Hold on until dawn.  Try to pray the water remains at its current level or recedes. Please, God.  Please don’t let it get any higher.

Rescue units arrive and the hard decisions have to be made.  What do the inhabitants take with them? Their pictures? The ornaments they made for their parents? Or ornaments their children made for them? Electronics? No cellphone service, but it might come back up soon. Not leaving without their dog, are they? Can’t. Can they? What about their sick mother who is bedridden? Can they save her? They don’t leave her, do they? The stress of the certainty of losing everything they’ve built is overwhelming. They gather their lives. They take with them the clothes on their backs. Their medicines if they can. Their pets. The rest is lost.  The boat cannot hold a lifetime of things, even if those things can never be replaced.

The neighbor these inhabitants said good morning to every day. The neighbor was not so lucky. The neighbor got caught in the water. Down into the depths the neighbor was swept, never to return. No more good mornings. No more hellos. And now a future without the neighbor. It hasn’t quite sunken in yet.

And now, they’re off to a safe place.  But how safe? For how long? Uncertainty is all the future holds.

Now, imagine it’s YOUR home.  YOUR mom.  YOUR children.  YOUR dog. YOUR neighbor. If you can imagine this, even just a little bit, then you have a small idea of what it was like in Louisiana last August. And, you have just an inkling of what it is currently like in Texas.

Last year, historic flooding destroyed most of my community, took the lives of a few of our citizens, and left me and my friends and neighbors with the task of rebuilding our lives. Today, there are still people rebuilding.

Please text HARVEY to 90999 to donate $10 to the American Red Cross. Volunteer if you can.  Please pray for the people of Texas.  Please be respectful of the pain and sorrow and uncertainty these people are going through right now. Let’s get back our humanity, our compassion, and our drive to help one another.  I’m thinking right now of a quote from the movie “Starman.” When the alien tells the FBI investigator that he will tell him what he likes most about human beings.  He says, “You are at your best when things are at their worst.” Let’s prove him right.

 

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