Franklin flooding brings community to help victims discard the ruins and pick up the pieces.
The air was thick with a musty odor that reeked of rot and decay. As it should, given the amount of debris that lay by the road side waiting to be picked up by the city of Franklin.
The Rebel Meadows subdivision, my neighborhood, sits right beside the Harpeth River. It winds around us and ventures on back to the Cottonwood and Fieldstone Farms neighborhoods. We were all in the same boat during the flood, somewhat literally.
I ventured out last week to help my neighbors by offering the use of my home for bathroom breaks, air conditioning, or a general reprieve. I also delivered cleaning supplies, trash bags, towels, etc. It wasn’t much, but I grabbed anything extra under my kitchen sink. I had to reserve a bit for my own cleanup efforts, but what I had to deal with paled in comparison for folks just 2 doors down from me.
Furniture, clothes, toys, it was all in shambles. Piles upon piles lay in the ditch waiting for pick up. It was overwhelming. I didn’t realize how much it threw me off-balance emotionally until much later in the day. It left me with a feeling of loss and emptiness.
It also shed a whole new light on the disaster that brought New Orleans to its knees. It was one thing to watch news coverage of Katrina on television, but being evacuated from your home is another. During the flood, I had to reassure Emma and Jacob that God was not flooding the world again. But it’s hard to process as a child when you are being carried out in 2 feet of rising water. What a relief for them to come home and see their stuff safe and dry.
But it was also a good lesson to see the other homes on the street. You have a new perspective when you have to stand next to the destruction and smell it the very moment you step outside. You can teach children empathy by talking about it, but until they see it live, especially the littler ones, I’m not sure much of it really sinks in. This was an exceptional opportunity for them to learn and grow.
In fact, it made such an impact on the kids at their school, they initiated a toy drive for the boys and girls who lost their toys in the flood. Yes, when I say “they” initiated it, I do mean the students. Emma & Jacob voluntarily chose to bring two each. And not just any two, but newer toys they play with today. It makes me so proud to know this is who they are becoming. THEY ARE NASHVILLE!
And that is the bright light in all of this. The people. The community outpouring of support and generosity is amazing. People are not just donating things, but they are diving in, getting dirty, helping complete strangers dig out. Companies, volunteers, neighbors are all doing their part. Even Atmos Energy, our gas company, set up camp on my street for the week to pass out hot lunches and drinks for victims and volunteers alike.
Everywhere I turned people were coming to help. Just as I delivered cleaning supplies to neighbors on Wednesday, on Friday I arrived home to find two large industrial tubs of cleaning and safety supplies from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The irony. One I used. One I donated again.
This is what stands out to me the most from last week. The positive energy. The willingness of people to help. The countless volunteers driving by asking, “What can I do? Can I get you anything?” It surrounds us. It defines us. It is who we are. WE ARE NASHVILLE!