I have many, many thoughts going through my brain these days, almost to a point of utter confusion for myself. It can be difficult for me to concentrate on one thing at a time. I have trouble finishing many of the things I am starting. I am doing my best to put off sleep in a futile effort to keep tomorrow from ever arriving.
I know what these are symptoms of, as I once encountered them before twelve summers ago, for five days out of each week. It took a great deal of strength and a lot of talking about it to trusted friends and relatives for me to slog through it. I went through that hell and I kept going. Deep down, I know I will get through this one. But it will be hard, because, in the end, each time is different.
I cannot resist comparing times past to right now. It is a manner of coping. It is a constant battle to try not to be condemned to repeating history. It is an effort to head into a breach armed with an arc-welder instead of duct tape - sure, it might be overkill, but it at least marks a better effort to be prepared.
But, in the end...prepared for what?
My father and I talked about the torrential rains that turned my street into a river this morning. I had called to wish him a happy Father's Day and we ended up reminiscing about street flooding we had known in Houston, where I had grown up. The time when the water rose to our front steps. When Dad decided to tackle a carpooling trip to school one morning through a horrific downpour only to be turned away by the fire department only blocks from school, much to us kids' delight, because the water was higher than his '79 Ford Bronco. When Dad was driving home in his Trans Am in a flooded street and realized the tires weren't touching the asphalt.
"Your mother thinks a lot of water is headed down your way," he said, referring to the floods inundating Cedar Rapids and Iowa City.
My first impulse is to say yeah, same ol' same ol', but I hold that back.
It's not the same as a hurricane possibly bearing down on your home. It's not the destructive power of a storm surge pressing its way up a man-made funnel and pushing back what we thought were carefully engineered barriers that would withstand that pressure. It's not going to expose in the same way how much our infrastructure has broken down, or how much our current so-called leadership is failing us daily.
And yet, we are all bound by water. By its power to hurt. By the unpredictability of its flow. By how much that is grossly underestimated on a regular basis.
This is a fine line we walk, this line between "I told you so" and "How can we help?"
It is the difference between despair and hope.
Between misery and uplift.
Brokenness and healing.
How do we balance this?
It is questions such as these that have plagued human beings from time immemorial...and the ones that seem to have come up with the best answers to those questions are the ones who put aside the comparisons for another day - a day when as many people as possible are out of harm's way.
R'fuah shleimah goes out to the people of these river cities from me.
Please be safe and strong and become imbued with the strength to recover and rebuild.