I happen to live in Middle Tennessee, where we’re dealing with the greatest natural disaster to hit the area since records have been kept. Some are estimating that the torrential rains we had over the weekend resulted in flooding that this area might not have seen for 500 or 1,000 years.
Comparatively, we have fared well. Our yard flooded up to three-feet high multiple times and eventually made its way into our basement. The currents ripped away sections of our fence, ripped up plants and landscaping, and made a marsh out of our basement. That’s nothing compared to neighborhoods up the street that experienced flooding so deep that the houses will be total, utter, complete, unsalvageable losses.
On the evening after the brunt of the flooding had taken hold, my family piled up into the SUV and drove around to survey the damage. We saw cars turned upside down, windows shattered, metal twisted and contorted like a scene from “I Am Legend.” We saw streets whose asphalt and blacktop had buckled, crumbled and given up under the pressure of one of the strongest elements on the planet – water. We saw fallen bridges, rooftops peeking out from a soup of dirty water, and benevolent citizens towing their own boats to the scenes of this natural crime, in a selfless act of saving others who were trapped on islands of still-exposed yard, in attics or otherwise confined.
I have coworkers and even a relative who have likely lost their homes. Most Tennesseans, as this article outlines, do not have flood insurance. As a result, most of us will be denied by our insurance companies for not having coverage we were either prohibited from purchasing (if one does not live in an official flood plain) or were told we did not need. In fact, our household’s losses – flooring, carpeting, fencing, landscaping, personal belongings – have already been denied.
In times like these, most of us recalibrate our priorities and rethink our values. Devastation tends to make us feel more thankful and more deliberate in our actions and thoughts. While we consistently talk about being blessed and thankful for what we have – our health, our homes, our families – to our Little Ladies, times like these put a demonstrative lens on so much of what we say and do.
What have been some watershed moments for you and your family that put it all in perspective for you?
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