Tuesday, May 4, 2010

RE: We are Nashville

I don't usually get on my soapbox about issues, but I have been amazed that the immense flooding and devastation in Nashville appears to be but a blip on the rest of the nation's radar screen. Granted, there are important news making events taking place that are certainly worthy of significant investigative work and reporting -- among them the BP oil spill and its potential effect on coastal wildlife and the already struggling shoreline economies in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida, along with the almost superhero-like speed of the identification and apprehension of the aptly named Times Square Wanna-Be Bomber.
   Yet what we have experienced here and are experiencing here in Middle Tennessee and the surrounding counties is staggering. And so many of those affected do not have a voice or a phone or the ability to make themselves heard. In natural disasters of this magnitude, it is always the poor and the low income strata who suffer the most -- primarily because they lack the ability or the access to the resources that many of us take for granted. Ironically, they have no rainy day fund. For example, I am thankful that I was able to call a roofer yesterday and get my name on the repair list. When the roofer gets finished, I know a good handy-man who can help repair my walls and ceilings and hopefully get rid of that dated 1970's popcorn stuff in my den that I have despised for years. I am also blessed that I do not live pay check to pay check like so many do. And I am not talking about people with inflated life-styles. I am talking about people who go to work every day and do an honest day's work in places like Opry Mills, Opryland Hotel or the Wendy's or McDonalds in Pennington Bend or Bellevue.
     When I arrived at the Ace Hardware today I thought they were having a party in the parking lot. It was a seemingly convivial group sharing stories. Most everybody looked tired and some downright exhausted, and they were certainly all somewhat disheveled in appearance, yet they were introducing themselves to one another and patting each other on the back like old friends. Inside they told me that the folks who had driven from near and far had been there for some time patiently waiting for a truck delivery of shop vacs, industrial fans, tarps, and dehumidifiers. They were only 8 of each item on the truck and the people outside were discussing amongst themselves who had the most pressing circumstance so that they could decide without argument who would get what. It did not matter who got there first. It was a decision to be based on the severity of the need. I watched them determine that the church guy would get an industrial fan and a dehumidifier for sure. He did not ask; he did not plead; he simply told them where he had been and what he was working on. After I made my own purchase, I got in my car and wanted to cry. I do not know why it is the worst of times that brings out the best in most of us. I wish I could be a Good Samaritan every day and not just when a natural disaster strikes, but I am thankful that I was a witness to a lot of downright goodness, kindness, and mercy in the Ace Hardware parking lot today.

I am attaching a few photographs to give you a glimpse of what we have been through. One is from the neighborhood adjacent to mine. Another is of the iconic symbol of Music City, the Grand Ole Opry. Despite the absolute carnage in some sections of the city, other areas appear virtually untouched and unfazed, yet everyone I know has a friend, a family member, or perhaps is himself the very one who is facing a tremendous uphill battle. We are a city in crisis, but we are also resilient, faith-filled, hopeful people.

     The final image I offer is one of a flooded cemetery in Franklin, Tennessee taken by a friend. It has an eerie haunting beauty. I am comforted to be able to find the beautiful in the midst of the tragic. But the most powerful beauty I have been blessed to observe is the sacramental giving of one person toward another with a greater need. It is the biblical truth that outweighs even a biblical flood.

Follow this link to read more: We Are Nashville



  1. Where did you get these pictures? They are amazing.

  2. Wow. Once again, you expressed the reality of the need in a gripping way. Praying for Nashville. Thank God we know the end of the story... the world is in a mess. BUT God....!

  3. Kathy, my thoughts and prayers are with you and all of Nashville. I know firsthand how hard it is and exactly what you are talking about concerning the people at the hardware store. It is sad that it takes a natural distaster to make people saw their true colors. It is heartwarming to see that there are still 'good' people in our world. Wishing you and all your friends the every best. Deb


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