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Storm Surges and Rebuilding

October 9, 2020

I’m watching the storms in Louisiana coming ashore, most recently a hurricane that will bring us rain tomorrow. Five years ago a suddenly appearing and suddenly disappearing storm surged to heighten a rebuilding here.

It’s easy to see things on the television of social media and imagine what it’s like. It’s another to experience it. It’s another to rebuild with minimal funds and help in an overwhelming stack of tasks.

When Connor and I surveyed the damaged mobile and down trees we had no idea what we were going to do. Finding the dogs was priority and fortunately all were ok. The overwhelm was incredible and it was easy to just give up before starting.

Then people came forward and step by step it got better. It didn’t seem possible. For weeks neighbors brought dinner, leftovers, something to where we had at least one good meal a day. The cast iron was pulled from the remains and cleaned up to be used over fire to help with cooking. No refrigeration made another massive problem that was handled step by step.

There were people that stopped with encouragement and yet were still times of utter discouragement and defeat. It was not only clean up but caring for animals, trying to get “the office” which became home in a new way. It has truly been a case of being worse before it gets better. *sigh*

There have been surprises of faith and answered prayers. Looking at the wreckage and seeing blessings is odd. But imagine no phone, no power, weeks before getting a phone to have contact with the outside area. no refrigeration and before getting dinner having to get a fire going, get the pan ready and cook dinner being an hour process. Three meals a day.

Connor learned to wire a house, with a mentor who was an electrician. The very outdated wiring was redone to be safe. The hole in the roof was replaced and the floors fixed. The eight foot rotted hole in the wall of the house was fixed. That sounds like easy…just call people right? Not here. It was three years to get basic.

Then improve it was two more…insulation above, replacing switches, lights and other things needed. Floors stained, walls painted…and at the same taking care of other things from gardens to animals to life’s emergencies including the loss of 14 friends and family members in less than a year. Shortly after that Mr. Bill passed away…the man who mentored Connor and said I was an inspiration to him to just keep going under the overwhelm and not giving up.

But faith was there. Imagine a few months after the storm…Connor is working on homework…I’m working on records and plans I could do. I was thinking about what I could do for Connor for lunch. Didn’t call anyone or post anything as there was too much to do. But I might have 2 ingredients and need 3…or didn’t have a way to cook that or this thing was out of the question. A truck pulls up out front and the driver chats about the dogs…I didn’t recognize him but people are different in small towns. He said he had something for me if I’d accept it and my curiosity was raised. He pulled out of his vehicle a 20 piece with trimmings chicken dinner from Jack’s in Carbon Hill.

Never underestimate the power of such an answered prayer in a time of need. Do something for someone. Don’t underestimate the power of a few pieces of chicken and mashed potatoes and gravy. Don’t underestimate the gift of an hour or so doing something that someone else can’t. I still have times it’s a need for help and for those who hate asking, too often it goes unasked. Don’t say “call me if you need help” say “what can I do to help you now?” Call me if you need help may come at a time you truly have something else happening…and hearing no at a vulnerable time is rough. Especially when overwhelmed and so much needs done.

This doesn’t mean just in literal storms. Continued steps mean maybe needing help putting some hay in a loft of the shed. Maybe it’s helping clean a kitchen or helping reorganize a pantry. Maybe it’s moving a crop before a storm or fixing a winter or airing up a tire.

Don’t underestimate gifts after storms. It doesn’t have to be expensive. Be a blessing. Pass it on.

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