I haven’t lived in the city of Nashville for very long, about seven months. That’s enough time to experience a couple of seasons, find some great restaurants, declare a few “favorite places,” and meet several new faces. I still tell people I’m from Texas. I still consider myself a newby to the area, and I still get lost on my way to Wal-Mart. But the recent weather has changed these outsider feelings.
Nashville flooded last weekend. My county as well as 29 others were declared “disaster zones” by the federal government, and FEMA is actively trying to assist those who lost things like their homes, their cars, and for some, their loved ones. I know of many similar situations. I have heard it regarding the devastation to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina left her wake. I have heard descriptions and seen pictures of victimized countries like Haiti, Chile, Indonesia, Thailand, the list could go on.
From a natural disaster standpoint, there is nothing unique about the flood in Nashville. Floods have ravaged cities for as long as rain has fallen from the sky. And the piles of debris and stacks of abandoned cars I see in Nashville have been seen by many people in many hometowns over the years. But this is the first time I have ever felt the weight of a storm and witnessed the effects it’s capable of. This is the first time I have watched rain fall so hard for such a long time, and I was watching it out my own window.
I was fortunate to not suffer any damage to my things. The most direct effect for me is using port-a-potties at work (our restrooms have been shut down) and cutting my water usage in half (one of our water plants is currently submerged). Many were not so fortunate and now have a lot of work to do. We have a lot of work to do.
That “we” has been my lesson of the week, really one of my biggest lessons yet: when things fall down, it is our job to put them back up, whether the thing was mine or not, and this is what Nashville has exemplified over the past six days. A popular local blogger concluded his blog post about the flood with a simple phrase: “…we are Nashville.” These three words have spread like the water itself this week.
Citizens know what it means, it’s on t-shirts, it’s on twitter, facebook, it’s giving the city a hope and a resolve to build. And so build we will. I still feel strange saying “we.” I have only lived here for a short time. Seven months is nothing compared to seven years, or a lifetime, but I’m feeling pulled in. I’m caring as if it were my hometown, and I decided it doesn’t matter. The amount of time one has lived in a place cannot limit how much they want to see that place prosper and not let a natural disaster get the best of it.
I’ve had a Nicole Nordman song stuck in my head recently that articulates what Nashville will being doing for a long time to come:
So we build
We clear away what was and make room for what will be
If you hold the nails, I’ll take the hammer
I’ll hold it still, if you’ll climb the ladder
If you will, then I will, build
this is beautiful.
i’m glad you wrote this,
and i’m glad you are in nashville.
i feel like we are living some important days.
glad to be doing it with you!
Thanks, Abby! I’m sure we’ll be talking about this for a long time. I’m so glad I’ve gotten to get to know you in this cool place!
Well said! So proud to call you family. We love you.
Thanks, Larry. Right back atcha! Love and miss y’all. Let me know when you’re back in N-ville. We’ll go to Mellow Mushroom 🙂
Beautiful Andrea!! I am thankful first of all that you are safe, secondly that you have been moved and touched by what you have witnessed and thirdly that you are allowing your home to seep into your heart. So many times, moving often causes us to put up a wall – life is too short and his plans are too big for our measly walls – so bloom where you have been planted no matter how long or short you are there!! love you!! Dana
It feels good to be back in your blog, sweetie. I’ve been so proud of your heart response to this flood. You have been Jesus in action. I love you, mom
Such good advice, Dana. And if anyone can speak wisdom regarding moving, it’s you! I miss you. Let’s go back to Paris….
aaahhh. sigh. smile.
so happy the blog is BACK!! it really brings me a hot-tea-in-hand kinda moment. i love reading your writing. you have a gift. and you have a heart. proud to brag on my sister, filling sandbags and doing her part. love you.
It feels good to be back in your blog. I’m so proud of your heart response to this flood. You have been Jesus in action. I love you, mom
Horray for blogging again! Encouraging insight. It’s like you just start living life fully, right where you are. Seems that life gets much richer when it’s lived that way. Can’t wait to see you next weekend!
Thanks for your comment, Adri! Such a good point. Can you please start blogging?
[…] it. I have lots of friends that blog as well, and they each have shared their part of the story. Dre wrote about the efforts of our city and the power that the words “We are Nashville” […]
This is great. I’ve been here 8 years almost now but it’s always felt like my college town more than home…until this. I’m right there with you!
Thanks for sharing that–the comraderie that’s arisen from this is so amazing to watch. I feel like everyone will have a unique story to tell.