Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Great Flood {Part Deux} - Lessons in Gratitude

In the last installment, I regaled you with my incessant whining about how we had a great rush of water engulf our basement like in the days of the Great Flood. Now that I have gotten that required boo-hooing out of my system, on to the surprises the whole ordeal has held for us me so far.

Gratitude. Lots and lots of gratitude. Sure, the whole situation stinks (again, literally). Given a choice, we would much rather NOT have a flood in our basement, especially one involving sewer water. If we said we enjoyed this, I would give you full license to have us thoroughly examined by the nearest mental health practitioner, which in this case is my brother in law. Ethical, schmethical.

However, while we were struggling through the emotions and the necessary detachment both for our sanity and spiritual growth, God provided so many moments where my heart was filled with gratitude - for His providence, for His timing, and for those He has placed in our lives. {Let me be perfectly clear about one thing before I dig in. This is how I see the hand of God in the events as they unfolded for me and for our family. Just because events did not unfold in such a way, or led to more trouble, for others, does not in anyway mean that the hand of God abandoned them or gave them less. Not. At. All. God worked in so many ways and through so many people as we hear the stories come pouring out. This is just my story, capish? Phew. Glad I got that out there.}

Let's talk about providence first. Both the Hubs and I (and numerous others) have commented on how providential it was that we cleaned out a large part of our basement earlier this summer. Had we not, I'm not sure we would have been able to recover anything on the unfinished side of the basement - it would all have been enjoying a good soak. We were able to salvage many of the bins and some baby gear. If only we had finished the job. C'est la vie.

His timing. The flooding came Monday evening, not too long after I got home from work. On the way home, I heard news of flooding on some of the local highways, but nothing major had hit yet. It wasn't until I tried to go out for supplies and reinforcements after we saw the mess in the basement that I realized how badly the roads were flooded, even in our 'hood. I was gone for a half hour and got absolutely nowhere fast. After seeing people getting stranded in the middle of a busy road, I turned my swagger wagon around and high tailed it back home. I'm so glad I did after seeing the aftermath. Y'all, it was like a zombie apocalypse had hit the streets and people were dragged from their now haphazardly abandoned cars. Cah-razy!

People, oh my, the people. I'm not even sure I can put into words just how grateful I am for all the people who God has placed in our lives in such a wide variety of ways.

First, there is my mother in law who immediately agreed to have the kids come stay with her for an indefinite length of time while we clean up (but oh, how I miss them even with their crazy ways!). I can't stress how indefinite this is, and how much energy our children have. Such a great blessing that we not once had to worry where they would go.

Next, there is my mom who has offered to help with costs if/when we know what we need, even though she's got her own expenses ahead of her. While we may not take her up on that offer, it is a solace to know that we have some options if we want to explore different avenues to restore and refurnish.

Then there were the kids themselves, who somehow knew something was up (maybe because mommy told them to chill their grills while we worked) and miraculously slept through all the din of Operation Rescue Books and Monsters.

There are the friends who offered their home and their laundry if we needed somewhere to go.

There are the numerous friends who have offered their prayers, diversion, mental/spiritual support and sympathies.

Then there was Dwija. Dear, sweet Dwija, who is "far, but not too far" from us and offered to let us escape to her slice of heaven. Don't get me started on the beauty of the interwebs. Don't you tell me it is a waste of time! No interwebs, me no meet Dwija, who astounds me with her kindness and grace and joy every single day...even the worst one.

When we found out from the restoration contractors that we would have to haul all the trash out of the basement ourselves because they just didn't have the manpower for it now (and let me tell you that saves us some cha-ching!), I sent an SOS to a friend who came and worked with us for several hours no questions asked. Without his help we'd still be sludging in the basement instead of clean and tucked nicely in bed. We've got pals including the bro-in-law lined up to help tomorrow afternoon too. Dear sweet friends who don't mind the muck... THANK YOU!

Last, but definitely not least, there is the Hubs. He often works through exhaustion, but nothing like Monday night, where exhaustion was mixed with the emotion of loss and helplessness.  He continues to work tirelessly as we chip away at the clean-out. We may have wanted to crumble at times, but never at the same time. In so many ways this has brought us closer together. His loss is my loss, and my heart breaks that we didn't finish the basement cleaning so we could have brought more of his books to safety. {I have to mention that as I was cleaning out the bottom shelf of all the shelves, I inadvertently stumbled upon one that was completely dry. It's a book on the Eucharist. Completely dry people. Not one drop of water. No, it was not in plastic - simply sandwiched between other books. And paperback. Bone dry, pages perfectly swishing as I flipped through it. Tell me the Eucharist ain't something miraculous, even in print. I need to take a better photo of it and where it was on the shelf so you understand just how impossible this is. Sorry for the digression. Back to the regularly scheduled programming now...} 

In all the turmoil and uncertainty, I never in a million years thought that the one emotion that would overwhelm my heart was one of gratitude - deep, abiding gratitude and trust in God's provision. I don't particularly care for His way of helping us finish our cleaning out of the basement, but I know He will make good out of it, hopefully sooner rather than later. I have grand visions of a pretty basement - I'm pretty sure I'm wearing a different pair of glasses than God right there... Hey - we've all got work to do, right?

Stay tuned for future editions as we have updates of our recovery from Floodgate Detroit 2014.

May you and yours have a restful night!

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1 comment:

  1. Rahki, I got chills when I read the part about the book about the Eucharist being dry. Amazing in the truest sense of the word.

    I'm so glad you have a community to lean on. You're right, nothing makes you feel more grateful than realizing just how much the people in your life truly love you.

    Praying for you all, still!