I spent most of the day today walking up and down one of the hardest hit streets in a nearby town from the flooding over the weekend. I have watched the coverage of the flooding from the beginning, and the images have taken my breath away. When I saw the pictures from inside the Opryland Hotel, I didn't think I could be any more heartbroken for our city. Opryland Hotel holds many special memories for our family, and today it was announced that the hotel will probably not reopen for at least six months.
After living in a daze with a sick feeling in my stomach, a few friends and I decided to just jump in and see what we could do. We heard that one of the hardest hits streets in our area needed towels. The local YMCA was offering free showers for the families, but most of them have lost all their towels in the floodwater. We quickly rounded up bags of towels, and headed down the street with a red wagon full of towels and no idea of what we were getting into.
I thought seeing Opryland Hotel was devastating. Seeing these dear families and their homes after the flood broke my heart. There are families on that street who have literally lost everything. Everything. The contents of their homes, the things that brought them comfort and expressed their own family's history sat ruined at the curb waiting for a dumpster to haul it away. One woman sat in her driveway, delicately peeling apart family photos, carefully setting them across the sunny lawn in the hopes of salvaging at least a few precious memories. When I asked her if there was anything she needed, she looked at me, so overwhelmed and emotional, and said, "I don't even know what I need." A few hours later we brought her back some photo storage boxes so she would have somewhere to put the pictures that survived and dried. Photo boxes don't begin to touch her loss, but we had to do something.
We spent hours handing out water, work gloves, trash bags, candy, and gum, and I could spend hours writing about the people we met who had lost so much in the floods. But I honestly can't think through it all again right now. It brings me to tears - not just the enormity of loss, but also the courage, determination, work ethic, and sometimes even humor these folks showed today. I know there is a lot going on in the country and in the world lately, but Nashville needs your prayers right now. I imagine everyone has seen a clip on the news of the flooding in Nashville, but today I looked in the faces of people who are living this experience.
I will never be the same. I pray someday they will be.