By Simon Ambit
Living in the arid dry climate that we do, we get used to rationing water and praying for rain. So, when the skies began to drizzle last week, it was a welcome occurrence. However, the day drew on and with the ground already saturated and clouds growing darker, the air grew heavy with storm and anxiety. Throughout the night and well into the following days, the storm clouds erupted with pounding storms and copious rainfall.
With each wash, canal and river in the valley raging to the brim, the waters began to free themselves of the confines of their banks and surge mercilessly outward with no respect for what lie in the path.
The result was devastating to many. Ranging from puddles in yards to destroyed homes, the floods last week in our area brought extensive damage and heavy hearts. But among all of the drear and dismal was much help and hope.
I had the opportunity to take my three boys and go down to Wellington and work among the people in three separate homes. I watched as finished basements, now ruined, were torn down to bare walls. I helped a family who purchased a home just a couple weeks before throw boxes of unpacked belongings in the dumpster. I watched men on hands and knees working side by side with children in a crawl space as they shoveled mud into the hose of a vac-truck for hours and hours. Working there amid mud, muck and mire, where the exact destruction had taken place just two years ago, I was lifted to higher ground.
I did not hear a single complaint from a volunteer. I saw no property owner giving up. I learned that local church members cut Sunday meetings short and went to work helping where needed. I witnessed local businesses and their employees donating time and equipment to aid in the clean-up. I saw local government officials covered in mud working alongside the crowds. The volunteers refueled on donated drinks and food. There was a spirit of camaraderie, togetherness and brotherhood, with everyone doing and giving what and how they could.
“God, what a world, if men in street and mart felt that same kinship of the human heart which makes them, in the face of fire and flood, rise to the meaning of true brotherhood,” American author and poet Ella Wheeler Wilcox penned.
I wish that none of this destruction would have happened. To those who are suffering from the results of the floods, I am sorry for your loss; our hearts and prayers go out to you. I am grateful for the fine people of our area, for the people who roll up sleeves and go to work. Thank you to those who, without being asked, came from other communities to help us. Thank you those who traded in dresses and ties for muck boots and shovels. Thank you to a community who gave a little of themselves to those from whom so much has been taken. Most of all, thank you for the example of you who were flooded, some for the second time in two years, and yet, are getting up again in the morning to gather what is left and put the pieces back together.