I recently read through some drafts I have saved on here. For some reason, I never published this. Re-reading it I am reminded about how easy it is to get intrenched in our own world and miss what’s going on around us. I pray that I may always be aware of the needs of my neighbor.
I have been alive long enough to know that there are some things in life that permanently shift your perspective. I’ve also experienced a few of those things. I’ve lost some people who I love dearly, I watched the towers fall on 9/11/2001, I remember Katrina. However, aside from the death of my brother, I think that this past weekend produced in me a shift that has not been matched by other events in my life.
I spent four years in the city of Nashville. I went to college at Belmont University. I loved Nashville before I moved there, but my experience and my life there was so rich, deep, and meaningful that I am still moved to tears every time I drive into town and see the skyline. Nashville is truly the town that my heart calls home. When I am there, regardless of what is going on around me, everything seems right.
This past weekend I watched stalked Facebook and Twitter for every new update from my friends in Nashville as they were hammered by one of the worst rain storms to hit the city in recorded history. Three tornado warnings in 24 hours and 13+ inches of rain. All of these rain drops turned streams and creeks into rivers and the rivers into oceans. Soon I saw pictures of my beloved city underwater. With many pictures and memories of my life in Nashville. Watching as the river running through downtown flooded the streets my friends and I walked when we would go dancing on the weekends. Saw pictures of some of the city’s most notable landmarks like the Grand Ole Opry filled with swamp-like water. Not only were buildings and establishments harmed, but people lost their lives. People died stranded on the interstate when creeks turned them into raging rapids, and in their homes when they were trapped by rising water.
Sunday, while much of the worst flooding unfolded, I stood outside in my yard playing catch with my dog. It was sunny and 70-80 degrees here. Those around me had no clue what was going on in a city that is close enough to be in our same time zone. People went on about their business as if all was right in the world.
I was like them just days before, but now I couldn’t shake this feeling of imbalance and sadness. Didn’t they know that the place my heart called home was washing down river? Didn’t they know about the flood that has been described as the worst non-hurricane flood in the country? The flooding was barely mentioned on the news here or nationally.
I remember in 2005 falling asleep in my on campus apartment the night before the tropical storm Katrina hit TN. It already caused a lot of damage in New Orleans (the flood hadn’t happend quite yet), but was going to hit the Nashville area still at tropical storm strength. Lots of schools closed due to the anticipated rain fall. I prayed that night that God would let it rain enough for me to get out of class the next day. Instead, I woke up to a miserably wet day in Nashville (the kind where dry hair is the only evidence that you carried an umbrella) and horror unfolding in New Orleans.
I feel great remorse that I have failed to pay full attention catastrophes in the world. To not allowing the sadness and heart break of the world impact my life. I have heard people say that you can’t take it all in or you’ll break. But, what is wrong with breaking? Maybe if we allow God to break our hearts for the things that break His, this world would be a bit less broken on the whole.