Those of us who are making flood relief our number one activity these days are starting to get a little tired. Just a little. And grouchy. Just a touch of that, too.
There are several irritants, not the least of which is the fact that many people in Nashville and most people in the United States think this whole flood thing is over. They drive around and they don’t see any piles of sopping wet furniture or moldy drywall. Everything looks just fine and dandy. Until you realize there are no people in the houses. And most people haven’t heard the stories of flood victims, five months later, still living in their flood-ravaged houses. Or hosing off their mattresses thinking that will get rid of mold. Or, as I heard the other day, living in tents.
So here we are, the flood-fatigued warriors, nattering on about flood relief and mattresses and drywall. You can see people’s eyes glaze over. “Oh, no,” you can practically hear them say. “Not that again.”
But the other day, I had that moment of clarity that told me that the fatigue and the nattering and the confusion of trying to set up a fairly comprehensive plan of service to flood victims was having tangible results. And the first tangible result was Mrs. Doris Dunn. Before I get to Mrs. Dunn I have to say that we are now almost five months from the days of the flood. And it’s taken that long for the FIRST people to start getting back in their homes. Recovering from a disaster is not quick or easy. It is tedious, nerve-wracking, worry inducing hard work on the part of the victims.
So here is Mrs. Doris Dunn and her granddaughter, Tina Hogan. They were the first family to come get furniture from the Community Resource Center, not because we’ve been twiddling our thumbs for the last few months but because Mrs. Dunn is just now ready to move back in her home. We always ask for stories when we meet flood victims. Mrs. Dunn’s is that she waited almost too long to realize that she had to flee her home. The water rose so quickly that a neighbor had to wade to her house in chest-deep water and carry her out on his back.
Cynthia Williams from Channel 4 did a story about Mrs. Dunn getting back into her home with brand new furniture. It was a nice story, but it spawned hundreds of phone calls from other flood victims who also need new furniture. There’s not enough furniture in Tennessee.
Today, we had seven families come for furniture. I wish we had new furniture for 700 families but, the truth is, it’s hard to come by and we won’t be able to serve everyone. That’s where flood fatigue washes over me again.