Thursday, July 21, 2022

Water, rocks, walls and my heart

I hoped the computer would give me the low battery symbol as I opened it up tonight. "Okay, off to bed!", but alas, it has a full battery. 

You're always moving in the unseen. 

Your breath sustains me.

You know my needs even before I speak them. 

I can rest in you even though sleep eludes me and my very bones are weary. 

You replace my mourning with joy. 

As I crawl through the mud (literally?) you lift my head so that I can see. 

Your faithfulness will see me through. 

I looked out the window and saw the rain falling in heavy sheets against the Peaks. Then, my phone started peppering me with flash flood warnings, as I was driving to the Octagon/A-frame. The head of a flash flood was barreling down the street toward me and there was the roar of a freight train - the sound of boulders and trees being shoved on a watery course through mud and other debris. Our property was covered in it's entirety by rivers flowing with such force that I would have been swept away if I had taken a step onto it. Our fences broke apart as I watched. My neighbor was standing in her barn holding her two horses in 2 feet of mud water. Kyle, who lives in our Octagon, had stepped outside of his home office just outside the house, and was immediately forced to climb into the fort I had built last year. He waited there for the flood to subside before he could safely get back to the house. 

As I watched, our property disappeared underneath 14 inches of mud and debris. That evening, after the waters had subsided for the most part, we walked the property in the dark and discovered that the jersey barriers had successfully held out the water on the A-frame, but had breached the walls of the Octagon, though not enough to get into the house. In the following days we reinforced barriers, placed secondary barriers on the outside of the former barriers, back filled those with boulders and dirt, and then built boulder walls along the inside of the other walls. 

My Airbnb business is obviously gone, as we cannot safely host guests in these conditions. In addition, there is not a driveway, most of the fences are gone (unbelievably, all the fences that we built ourselves have held so far) and the house cannot be reached without traversing a boulder/mud pathway. Also, for unrelated reasons (though we heard the news on the same day), Kris' job also has run out of funding and put him on minimum wage for an undetermined period of time. When it rains, it pours, and then tries to drown you. Apparently.

There have been tears - I mean, honestly, quite a few tears - but always at unexpected times. Like when a gentleman heard one of the baristas at Matador Coffee talking with me on the first morning of our cleanup and he came up and gave us cash, folded into hearts, to cover our lunch that day. We have had family, friends, neighbors and total strangers assist us with moving rocks, sandbags, and even assist us with their tractors. We've had people give us money, time, energy and so many people have surrounded us with prayer and support. We don't know what the future holds or how exactly we'll make it through this season, but we don't have to know those answers (though we'd sure like to, sometimes). In reality, we may not be strong enough to know those answers yet. 

As I worked on the property these past many days, it has been the picture of the future beauty that I have seen; it is the painting of what can be that I see. The future flower beds, the walls (to replace the current sandbag walls) made from the thousands of rocks that have been delivered to us so abundantly by the floodwaters. I see new trees, the A-frame painted forest green in honor of our lost forests, the land cleared of debris and restored to more than it's former glory. I don't know if I will be allowed to bring this painting to life, but if I am given the opportunity, if the future floodwaters do not do more to destroy what currently exists, I will do so, and with a joyful heart. 

The hardest part is absolutely the fatigue. After thousands of sandbags and hundreds of rocks, my muscles are just not holding up extraordinarily well. Yesterday, I reached for a sandbag and I couldn't grip it through the fatigue. With rest, our bodies have an incredible rate of healing and recovery, so we are trying to rest where we are able. 

We are moving into the A-frame this week. Providence seems to be forcing our hand; we rely on my business in the best of circumstances, which this is not. We will turn around and try to generate Airbnb income from our new house. So, we are storing the majority of our personal items in closets and sheds and moving the bare minimum into the A-frame. I reduced my own belongings, including clothes, to fit into two 13 gallon trash bags, to lead by example. :-) This will be our season of minimalism. Shelly gave us several metal fencing panels upon her departure to SC, and we were able to set them up as a temporary yard for the dogs and a way for us to keep Lochlan on the premises in the absence of our fences. The panels reside inside the boundary of the jersey barriers, so hopefully will not get inundated with flood waters. 

This is my war. Sitting on the front lines surrounded by barricades I wait for the sky to open up, the waters to consume and the full brunt of the forces I cannot hold back to be thrown against us. Yet, I know that He knows, sees and that His plans are unseen but more marvelous than my own. This physical reality is a picture of the greater battle(s) of this life, the relentless barrage of ugliness that a broken world hurls at us. We do not have the strength to keep it from happening, to be unaffected by it, to protect ourselves from it entirely. We do not have the strength to pick up the pieces, to remove the debris, to live with the repercussions, to create beauty from the ashes (and mud). Not on our own. But, I am not alone. I will not win this battle with the strength of my own hand.

It seems we are each given the impossible. It is not always clear why. I find myself wrestling against fear periodically because it seems we are being strengthened for a future purpose. Through the events of the past week, however, I have determined I don't think that is something to be feared; I'm less worried that I am being groomed because something harder is coming. Something harder is very likely coming, but that is not the purpose of my present molding. I think the working out of my faith now and always is about something much more profound and beyond what I can know in my present form. Whatever changes and refinement which are required now may not alter much of anything (in me or others) at present. But, it may alter much of eternity. 

Keep moving forward, even if it's one muddy step at a time. It seems that it is a requirement, not a suggestion, for each of us. I believe we will be broken in the process, yet somehow greater strength may find us on the other side. 

1 comment:

Gwendolyn1946 said...

Bless your heart, my dear battle worn daughter. How is it possible that when you should be falling into bed in exhaustion, you are instead taking the time and effort to chronicle the events of the past 6 days in a way that not only impacts those who read it now, but will sustain, for as long as written words exist, the triumph of at least one gallant human spirit inundated with impossible misfortunes. I believe one day, you will write about how “the Painter” gave you the inspiration and resources to not only make beauty from the ashes that composed much of the suffocating mud that now covers your property, but plant flowers in the rearranged rocks and boulders deposited by the flood… because that’s who you are… and that’s who He is. Love you, dearest.