Recently I’ve found myself feeling lost within a few minutes of driving. My route these days is not familiar, much like my life. The house where we are currently staying is in a different part of town than our own house. I don’t know these streets like the back of my hand, having to take different interstate exits and back roads. My autopilot-driving mindset is completely thrown off, constantly causing me to forget where I am.
Our house flooded about a month ago. Thankfully we only had a few inches of water. While the walls have dried, the pile of furniture and debris has been removed from our front curbs and we’re beginning to rebuild; the dust still hasn’t really settled. The fog caused by what has been coined “The Great Flood of 2016” has yet to be lifted. You may not see it by looking at the outside of our houses, but we’re all still there. Thoughts of catching up on TV shows and any kind of normalcy have turned to scheduling contractors and finding the best price on sheetrock. My husband and I are having date nights to Home Depot while talking about quote prices and paint colors. I’ve screwed in sheetrock for the first, and hopefully last time, and hammered more nails than I can count. The only routine part of my life is work, and even that has been different. Conversations at work quickly turn to flood stories and recovery updates. ‘Did you get water?’ or ‘How’s your house coming?’ It’s all we can think about and all we can see. I’ve even forgotten little things over the past few weeks and find myself having trouble focusing. My friend started calling it flood brain, and it is absolutely a real thing.
I’m living in this fog and I can barely see a few feet in front of me. But I’m still moving – moving ahead. And along the way, we have felt so many hands reaching toward us. Our pastor recently talked about how we look most like Jesus when we are in community, all working together. This is so the truth. All of our best qualities shining bright. And we’ve felt that, thankful for all the generosity shown to our family.
My husband and I were having dinner out the other night without the kids. We had just met with two guys at the house for quotes and I was feeling overwhelmed and mentally exhausted over the whole process. There was a family sitting at the table next to us with high school aged kids, close enough that I could hear their conversation. Normal, everyday conversation. I remember thinking, ‘How could they be having a normal conversation right now, they obviously didn’t flood’ and feeling a little frustrated. Within a few minutes, the woman had reached out by directing a question our way after we couldn’t help but laugh at an impression her daughter was making. We talked across the tables for 30 minutes about our families, community activities for kids, the local school benefits, etc. It was nice to talk about something other than the flood where for a moment, the fog dispersed. These days I am thankful for something as small as this.
So if you see me, or any of us, with a dazed look at times; if we seem forgetful; if we lose our train of thought; if we are overwhelmed by the decisions needing to be made; or if we zone out of conversations – please be patient with us. We’re not only rebuilding our homes but rebuilding our strength as well.