The weather had been unusual the moment we arrived. There was a rainstorm every afternoon around 4pm. Humidity builds, the clouds give up, relinquishing all of the moisture they possess. This pattern was ongoing for about a week, however everyone said that it was strange.
Thursday, August 11 it all changed. The torrential rain began and didn’t let up.
31 inches of rain
146,000 homes flooded
In that time frame, we sensed that something was not right. The rain didn’t slow down. It didn’t drizzle or mist, it just poured out, like a damn was opened up with no warning to those in its wake.
Our eyes on the news, we immediately became familiar with local rivers, their names and locations, and whether or not a bayou was connected to it. We especially searched our map app to make sure these rivers were well away from us. Our road, thankfully, did not collect water nor did the neighborhood pond crest its bank. We didn’t know the amount of rain, but we did know that it had to have been a huge amount, as we had to open the drain of our swimming pool 5 times.
The news reports poured in, of families being rescued and shelters opening. Nearby fire stations were sandbagging and churches were mobilizing to deliver aid. Our first Sunday at church, the pastor said, “First we’re going to worship, then we’re going to pray, and then we will mobilize.” I emotionally moved by the immediate response. Many lessons had been learned in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and there was no waiting, people needed rescuing and there would be a great many needs to meet.
Here we were, strangers to this land, yet it felt like God didn’t want us to remain that way. 4 weeks after the shooting, the people were again in turmoil. My heart grieved for this community in a way I had never thought would. I literally knew 3 people by name, other than my own family. The church began a donation center and we volunteered as we were able. It felt strange dropping my young girls off in a strange place to help a community they didn’t know, and yet it felt like it was exactly what they needed to do.
I felt great guilt that I wasn’t doing enough. We had a home. We had our belongings. The need was so great and yet I wanted to do more.
Its as if the flood that escaped my home didn’t escape my soul.