Wednesday, May 27, 2015

A little too close for comfort

This week has consisted of devastation that is hard to put into words. Crushing floodwaters have completely wiped out almost 1,000 homes, damaged several hundred more, and taken many lives.

Our home in Martindale wasn't touched.

We live in the middle of a disaster zone right now, and our home was spared. For no good reason other than we were just on a little bit of higher ground.

Sunday morning, as I watched the floodwaters reach my driveway- the furthest they have ever come in at least 100 years- I thought to myself, "This is a little too close for comfort." In the hours that followed, I couldn't get that phrase out of my head. I am so thankful that our home was spared any damage. As I watched my neighbors return to their homes, several of which received significant levels of floodwater damage, I was shocked at the response. These people were smiling, laughing, and getting to work. Not because they had insurance (they didn't) but because it was just life and you just have to go on. I want to be a person like that. Obviously in this devastation there is a place for tears and grief and breakdowns.

But then, we go on. We rally together and move forward. 

I continued to think about being too close for comfort in the days to follow as I cleared mud and debris from inside and outside of people's homes. It is painful to see the devastation. It makes me uncomfortable to face other people's loss. It was too close for comfort. Way too close. But in that zone- the one outside of our comfort- is where big things happen. It's where service and sacrifice and love is shown and given the opportunity to grow. It's when we say, "I am stepping into this with you. I'm here and we'll make it."

Being too close for comfort means being there in the floodwaters of every sense. I want to want to be outside of my comfort zone.

Crying on your bathroom floor? I want to be there.

Digging muddy photos out of your destroyed home? I want to be there.

Feeling hopeless in your marriage? I want to be there.

Grieving the losses of memories and homes and traditions? I want to be there.

Your pain is not too close for comfort. You don't have to have it all together. We can sit in it together. Invite people into it. And if someone invites you into their suffering, just be there. What makes us human isn't avoiding pain at all costs. It's seeing the pain and getting uncomfortable in order to be there for someone. The best way to get involved in a disaster or painful situation is often not the most comfortable option. In fact, usually it will take you getting way beyond your comfort zone.

With the tragedy surrounding us right now in Central Texas, I want to run away. I want to either be out every hour being productive and helping, or I want nothing to do with it. The in between is too uncomfortable. But there must be balance. This recovery is a marathon, not a sprint. And it will involve still maintaining daily life of work, grocery shopping, working out, time with friends, date nights with Levi. But it will also involve seeking out opportunities to serve. Not waiting for them to come to you. Not just throwing out empty offers of "let me know if you need anything!" Find the needs and meet them. Do the work.

I write this as an encouragement to myself mainly. After just three days of work, I'm struggling. I am able to take the day off from this tragedy, but so many are not. I pray that we all would be comforted in knowing that the process of recovery and healing from this disaster is a marathon and there is no rush to be okay.

- Bethany

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