Originally Published: September 25, 2017 6 a.m.
First came the wind. Trees dropping, howling, swirling terror that tore off roofs and downed telephone poles. Then came the rain.
The heavens opened up and heaved down buckets in a non-stop torrent until the creeks and rivers and streams spilled over.
And the water swelled, running down streets through front doorways into the homes of people fleeing to upper levels. Like a biblical disaster, the storms that swept Texas, Florida and the Caribbean left people’s lives in a state of destruction. From helpless to hopeless.
My minister says that when the water rises, humanity rises to the occasion. The ordinary rescuers (angels) came in trucks, hauling boats, grabbing people stranded on rooftops, rounding up lost animals, herding up near-drowning cattle, and taking them to safety.
The community members rallied to help those hurt most, opening up their homes, bringing food to shelters, taking in strangers and pets, trying to care for horses, looking for lost souls. First Responders and the National Guard worked around the clock to get help quickly to those who were in life-threatening circumstances.
No, a flood and a hurricane are not pretty pictures. But it is what happens afterward that restores our faith in humanity. We watch in horror ... then we get to work.
We were glued to the television watching the carnage unfold, but then we go out and volunteer. Blankets 4 Kids in Prescott, a small nonprofit that provides blankets and stuffed animals to disadvantaged children in Yavapai County started boxing up thousands of blankets to be sent to Houston. A huge job for a very small organization! It is the heart and soul of America to give and help those in need. We do that well.
Hurricanes brought a different kind of relief to all of us. For several days we heard no political bickering and we were not a country divided. Floods and tragedy seem to help us transcend politics. It is just about people ... our neighbors and the only question asked is, “What can we do to help?”
There is rebuilding to do. Homes to clean up, ripping out the water-logged flooring and throwing out the “stuff” that is rotten and moldy.
For many, the path back home is riddled with challenge (no flood insurance) and not enough money to start over. For others, there are funerals to plan, grieving to do, memories to hold onto. One lady in Houston wept when “everything I have is soggy and flooded.”
Yet, her biggest loss is her old dog, a yellow Lab named Penny, who has never been found. And the five “beautiful, massive trees” that came down in her yard. Yes, loss can be for the life you had, the trees you loved, the dog you cared for, the house that is gone and the life that seems shattered.
Hope is perhaps the most enduring, human quality that cannot be easily measured or defined.
Dear Readers, after these major storms, the stories of hope and help are reminders of how fragile this life is, how great we can be and how much we rely upon each other. We can be sad, but inspired. And hopeful.
Judy Bluhm is a writer and a local Realtor. Have a story or a comment? Email Judy at firstname.lastname@example.org.