The natural sequence of topics for this week should be some discussion on being “On Firm Ground”. Two weeks ago I wrote a piece on Hit By The Storm. One week ago it was titled The Foggy Middle. However, stress and crisis never seem to follow a linear path. There is no natural progression. Just about when you think you have it beat, something else goes wrong. (sounds like my golf game)
Very reminiscent of the Souris River. My wife came home from work a few days ago with a new riddle. What goes up and down and up and down and up? Answer: The Souris River. Could be funny if it weren’t true. The official crest of the river came on April 26th. Since then we have had a few more crests. Now we are hearing about the river rising another eight feet. That is feet, not inches. Seems impossible. But then again, many other aspects of the flood would have seemed impossible, if considered earlier in the year.
For many people this will be another hit. Another storm. Dikes have to be re-enforced. In some cases rebuilt. Further evacuations will take place. Heard again this week on how many acres of land will not be producing a crop. Many questions abound for crops that were sown. Challenges persist. Lives are in upheaval. There is loss. Loss of property, purpose, identity. In many cases there is an impact on physical health. There is a tremendous toll on emotional health. The initial shock, disbelief and anger has turned to emptiness and confusion. Suddenly, without warning, there is a return of shock. Complete disbelief and a lot of anger. Will it never end????
Aside from the many that are experiencing loss, experiencing anxiety, experiencing the confusion and chaos of the ongoing challenges are those people that are working on the front lines. Those that work in flood recovery. Those that deal with people needing to evacuate. There are service providers from lending institutions. Department staff that are trying to help. I have met some that were pulled from retirement to assist. Many of these folk are taking the brunt of the anger and frustrations of people in crisis. By default, they too have been thrust into the cauldron. Feeling emptiness, confusion and chaos. These are new and foreign feelings for many.
I chatted, this week, with a woman whose parents had to flee their home during World War 2. She asked her mother how they had survived the long period of time hiding out in a barn. Away from home. Away from a normal life. Fully aware of the changing world around them. The answer was short and rather simplistic. They had hope. That is what kept them going.
Hope. Is that what it is that keeps us going in our darkest moments? Hope that life will change for the better. Hope that flood waters will recede. Hope that the rains will stop. Hope that flood forecasts will be wrong. Hope that we will survive. Hope that someday life will return to some semblance of normalcy. Perhaps that is all we have. Hope. Perhaps that is all we need.
Self-care becomes very important. Being able to recognize that life is out of balance. Realizing that stress has taken over. Understanding that change is a necessity. Perhaps it is time to step back. Maybe a time out is in order. Do what we can to survive. Knowing that there is hope. There is relief. Make it a good one.