Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Holy High Water, Batman...

"Historic river levels..."
"The flood of a lifetime..."
"We've not seen water like this since 1937..."

Those are some of the things I've heard, and you've heard a lot over the last few days. Personally, I hope it is the flood of a lifetime, because I'd really rather not see this again. The Mississippi here at Hickman was projected to hit historic levels and I guess it probably has. I'm not sure exactly where it's at right now, but I can't get down to my favorite walking spot if that says anything. Well, I guess I could but I'd probably get arrested.

Folks have been calling me and hitting me up on facebook for over a week wanting to get out and help, and they the busloads at times. Here in town, we were asked to activate our emergency shelter at the church due to mandatory evacuations in the downtown area, West Hickman, and the entire lower bottom. Within just a couple hours my flock, along with some folks from the community, had the shelter completely set up, stocked with food, and staffed with volunteers. I am very proud of them.

Folks have been filling, toting, and stacking sandbags all over Western KY. Unfortunately, homes were still flooded, and the loss has been great. I can't remember a greater outpouring of support for the neighbors around us, at least not that I have seen personally. Wait, I forgot about the ice storm. The help that came in during that time was amazing.

Many of my folks here at church are affected directly, as most of them are farmers. Still, I have not heard one complaint from my folks. I have farmers with thousands of acres under 15 or 20 feet of water, and I know they are stressed about it. I know they are worried about whether or not they are going to be able to get a crop out. But would you like to know what they have been doing? Sandbagging for other folks. I've seen them...and it makes me proud.

I have had folks from over 100 miles away call to offer help. Even the Lowe's store in Union City called me yesterday and offered help for the folks needing to evacuate. This last week or ten days has been a testament to the lengths folks will go to help other folks when there is a need.

...and then I looked at my facebook page.

Well, not actually my page because I try to be real careful about what I put on never know who's watching. What I saw yesterday broke my heart. I've been keeping up with the Bird's Point New Madrid Joint Information Center through facebook. It has been a wonderful source of information about plans to operate the floodway, hopefully relieving some of the pressure on the entire river system, and I'm assuming it is operated by the Corps of Engineers.

From what I understand, the floodway from Bird's Point to New Madrid was designed during the early years of the last century to help ease flooding in the event of water levels like we are seeing now. That was it's design. Folks were allowed to move into the floodway with an easement attached to the property deeds that stated the property could be flooded if the need presented itself. I'm sure, like most of us, they thought it would never come to that, and that it would be ok to build a home and life there. Still, my heart breaks for those affected when the floodway was activated.

Now, I'm not a very smart man. I admit that readily. I do hold 3 degrees, and have a little common sense, but I never claimed to be real smart. I do know this...if you build your home in a flood plain, every now and then you have to expect a little water. The same holds for fault zones. If you build your home on a fault line, every now and then you have to expect the ground to shake a little. It's just common sense. Evidently, for some, common sense washed downstream with the flood waters. Folks are looking for someone to blame. "Wipe out Cairo, it's going down anyhow."...that's the most common one I've seen. Blame is being laid on everyone from the governor to the Corps, but I haven't seen anyone say, "You know what, I took a chance building my life next to the river, and it blew up in my face."

...and then God was brought into it. That actually took longer than I expected, but I can't even comment on the stupidity of the comment made about that.

The point is's been a rough week or ten days for a lot of people. Frustration and fear run rampant. Folks are suffering. But, this is bigger than New Madrid, or the floodway, or Cairo. Folks are being affected all along the entire river system, and now is not the time to focus solely on what's going on in our own backyards.

So, to those folks who are out filling sandbags, helping their neighbors evacuate, bringing food and water to shelters, or anything else being done in the name of easing someone's suffering, thank you...and may God bless you.

To those folks who would rather sit around on your computers and gripe about the decisions being made...get off of your butts, realize that you are not the center of the universe, recognize that a lot of people are suffering, and go help someone. It's amazing how small my problems look when I get out and see what others are dealing with.

Ok, I'm stepping off of my soapbox now. Next.


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