Frozen in time? The flood still lingers under the coverage of pure white snow. Do not be deceived.
I’m sick of the flood. Heck, I’ve been sick of the flood since before it flooded. Since I had to wrap my mind around large strips of packed sand and dirt snaking around city streets, there to supposedly protect us. (Never trust a serpent.) Since a “false” evacuation, followed by a return to our homes with a sense of relief, followed by days later essentially realizing we’re screwed and needing to evacuate again—hauling items not just out of our basements onto the main floor of our homes, but up to the second floors (if we had them) or out of our homes all together.
I’ve been sick of it since I saw streets turn into streams of water, which then swallowed up homes and schools and churches and businesses and parks. I’ve been sick of it since the water sunk back into its river banks and left dead or diseased buildings behind.
“Suckers!” exclaimed the river over its shoulder.
I’ve been sick of the flood since people returned to the valley and were greeted by devastation and destruction. I’ve been sick of it since homes turned into haunted houses or skeletons. I’ve been sick of it since people have been lost, confused, broken, angry, sad, and all of the other emotions that there aren’t neat words for.
I’ve been sick of it since people are still trying to find their way back home. Find their way through the work of it, the time it takes, the expense of it, or the suspense of it—waiting for assistance, answers, or if they will be bought out.
I’ve been sick of the flood since before day one of it and I’m sick of it now and I’ll be sick of it years from now.
I’ve heard of people questioning why it’s still covered in the news. “Why do we still need to hear about it? It happened. It’s over. Get over it.” If you’re one of those people, you probably could care less about what follows, but please read on anyway…
Earlier this month I drove past my childhood home and saw that after twenty-five years with my family and a year plus as an orphan during flood recovery, it finally has a new family. Seeing this brought on the strangest feeling. It simultaneously made my heart flutter with joy and break with ache, is how I initially noted it. It was a high soaring, but also heavy sinking feeling. A push/pull that now I see doesn’t break my heart, but it sort of rips it simply because there are such extremes tugging and pulling on my heart in completely opposite directions.
In recent days I have driven past my childhood home and when I see that there is life back in the ol’ girl I wonder… I wonder when I can see her lit up from the inside out and know that it’s not my crazy, fantastic parents who are in there and not have my eyes well up with tears. I wonder when I can see that and not feel my heart ache…
I am happy there is a new family there. I am grateful my parents have a new home. But the thing is, I had no say. We had no say. The flood came. I had no control in stopping that. I had no control in how it would affect my life, the life of my parents, or the lives of friends and other members in my community.
No control. No power. No voice.
And that is why it still matters to so many. That is why we can’t get over it. It forever changed our lives and while there has been good that has come out of it for me and for others, it still turned our world upside down.
Believe me, every. last. one. of. us. is sick of the flood. We have been and we will be. Our city is still a mess. We will be recovering for years. And even when each and every home, church, business, park, and everything in between has been fully restored, our hearts will still ache from time to time. They will. I’m sorry, but they will. This is not something you just get over because you can’t climb over it. It’s in you. It’s scarred you. And it’s a part of you.
So if you are one of those people guilty of saying one of the most careless, callous, and cliche things ever (“get over it”) I implore you instead to ask, “How can I help you?” Talk with them, let them be heard. Do a random act of kindness for them. Help them with their rebuild because many are still working on their homes. Help them in any way you can. Not because any of us affected by the flood are “owed” anything, but because helping when you are able is always the right thing to do.
And this actually doesn’t just apply to our flood here in Minot, ND, my friends. It applies to all those recovering from disasters across the country. National disasters. Natural disasters. Violent disasters. Health disasters. Abuse disasters. Depression disasters. Disasters big and small. Everyone at one time or another needs to be asked with sincerity and love, “How can I help you?” And everyone at one time or another is capable of asking that question and then actually helping. It’s both a blessing to receive help (especially when it’s hard to ask for it) and to give help.
We have haunted houses here,
mmhmm, and many tortured souls.
We have broken hearts, I fear.
It seems that death’s grip won’t let go.
We have folks brutally scarred,
their ghost stories make you shiver.
Yes, we have those still fighting hard
against a cold hearted river.
I had the pleasure of writing the following article for Norsk Hostfest’s souvenir magazine. Mr. Bruhaug, the gentleman I interviewed, was signing copies of the magazine as well as posters featuring his face and the phrase “Boil the Damn Lutefisk” at Hostfest and I was grateful to have him sign my copy. He was so cute, thanking me for writing “such a nice piece” and he informed me that he sent four copies of it to Norway. Made my day.
Year in and year out, Norsk Hostfest comes to life thanks in great part to the many wonderful volunteers who come from near and far to organize, to piece booths together, and to welcome people—and everything in between. Even the devastating 2011 summer flood in Minot could not stop Norsk Hostfest because of its devoted volunteers. And if ever there were a poster boy for a Hostfest volunteer, it would be Bob Bruhaug. Well, he’s more of a poster man to be accurate. After the flood waters receded and questions lingered as to whether or not there would be a 2011 Norsk Hostfest, our poster man defiantly declared: “Boil the damn lutefisk!” And so it was.
Bob, a retired carpenter, sits alone at a table in a Minot coffee shop patiently waiting for me. He said I would recognize him by his cedar cane, which I later find out he carved himself, and sure enough there it rests alongside of him. I smile at Bob and he lifts a shaking hand warmly to me. As I walk towards him he kindly stands to greet me, ever the gentleman, and it takes a bit of effort due to the fact that Parkinson’s disease has settled into his body in recent years, disrupting his coordination. But his handshake is firm and the genuine smile on his weathered face suggests that he is a man who makes his way through the difficulties of Parkinson’s—and anything else for that matter—with humility and a sense of purpose.
For ten years Bob has happily been volunteering for Norsk Hostfest, he tells me. I tell him that I’m told he embodies the spirit of Norsk Hostfest and its great volunteers. He shyly chuckles. I learn that he is the vice president of the local Sons of Norway Thor Lodge and through his involvement with Sons of Norway he has had the opportunity to help in the construction and operations of En To Tre, which offers Nordic fine dining. His eyes light up when talking about En To Tre. Truly they do. You can tell that he not only enjoys helping, but that he is also proud of the work he has done there and continues to do, along with his work for the Thor Lodge food booth that serves soup, sandwiches, and lefse. And he should be because he dedicates about two weeks of his time every year to help set up and tear down, to make sure everything is running smoothly with En To Tre and the Thor Lodge food booth, and to serve as a bit of a goodwill ambassador for Hostfest.
“I’m not quite as active as I was a couple of years ago,” he says, alluding to his Parkinson’s. “But as long as I can do it, I’m going to keep doing it. I just enjoy helping and meeting people. It’s really something to work with the volunteers.” And based on the stories and pictures he shares with me, it is evident that people enjoy working with and being around him. Norwegian chef Willy Hansen, former head chef of En To Tre, even brought him to Norway and showed him around—one of his three trips to Norway.
Bob’s Norwegian roots run deep. His dad passed away when Bob was just thirteen years old, but “he kept good records,” Bob tells me. This allowed him the opportunity to get in touch and stay in touch with family members still residing in Norway. He has visited them there and they have come to Minot to visit him, as well as his sister, and attend Norsk Hostfest.
You can tell that family and heritage are important to Bob, that he has a deep appreciation for both, and that volunteering at Hostfest is a way for him to honor them. “Volunteering [at Norsk Hostfest] is important to preserve heritage. Some younger people don’t think about that,” he says.
Getting more younger people involved in Norsk Hostfest and in volunteering is something that is also obviously important to Bob. In part because of his appreciation of his heritage and also because through volunteering he has met many people from all over—people who have become his friends, that he keeps in contact with regularly, and that he shares many wonderful memories.
And then Bob discloses something unexpected with me. I have only just met him this afternoon, but he tells me that he is thirty-two years sober. “I lost a lot because of [alcoholism],” he says. He shares it with me matter-of-fact-like. Just like he did when he told me he had Parkinson’s disease. No doubt both have been trying for him, but he seems to be at point now where “it is what is”. He has dealt and is dealing with both diseases, he is working through them, and he is humbly making his way through life. Boiling the damn lutefisk, if you will. This, too, is why Bob has a strong interest in getting younger people to actively volunteer. He knows the positive difference it has made in his life. “In many ways, I think, volunteering replaces [drinking],” he says. “It takes a lot of time, but if you enjoy it, you know, you can take a lot of fun out of it.”
Our conversation ends. Bob thanks me and gathers himself up, puts his hat that had been sitting on the table back on his head, and leaves. But I am the one who is grateful. Grateful to have had the opportunity to meet this poster man, this volunteer who does the work asked of him willingly and with integrity. I am grateful because I now know for myself that he is what I have been told, the embodiment of Norsk Hostfest and its great volunteers.
If you Google “define story” one of the definitions they’ll share with you is: “an account of imaginary or real people and events for entertainment”. That makes sense, I suppose, but it’s not enough… Entertainment? True, stories do entertain. More importantly, however, stories are told to teach, to enlighten, to connect. To share in the human experience.
And stories are told in all sorts of manners… With words, of course. But stories are also told through photographs and paintings. Through cooking and baking. Song and dance. Crafting. We weave stories together all the time simply by living.
Sometimes stories fall on our laps, crawl upon our chests, and wrap tightly around our hearts. These kinds of stories are poignant, but heavy. And I know that many of these kinds of stories exist in the flooded valley of Minot, ND and throughout the city. With such a life altering tragedy, how could there not be stories? No doubt there are stories of heartache, but there also stories of hope. I know this to be true because of my own 2011 Minot flood experience that still unfolds at my feet. But sadly the problem with some stories is that they never get told, or they never get picked up off of a shelf, or those doing the telling feel as though no one is listening.
I want you to tell your story. I want to pick it up off of the shelf. I want to listen.
My hope is this… That I can meet with those who experienced and/or were somehow affected by the flood. I want to document with words and images how the flood waters washed over you. Was your home flooded? Did you house flood evacuees? Was your business flooded? Did your business relocate or branch out here to help with flood cleanup? Was your school flooded? Was your church flooded? Where are you at in your rebuilding process? Are you a flood cleanup volunteer?
If you’re willing to share your story with me, I am willing to listen and in turn piece it together to share with the world… Please email me (email@example.com) and I will work to make arrangements with you. This idea came to me just this evening, so I’m not quite sure what the process will be, but please help me make it happen because I think… I think it could be powerful. For us all.
On this still evening I took a lil’ drive through my old neighborhood, which is still recovering from the 2011 summer flood and will be for years to come. There were moments of joy and pangs of ache.
There were houses that, over a year later, appeared to be untouched…
There were houses that had been stripped…
And sadly some, like my old house, were now simply holes in the ground…
Seeing all of this and the lingering FEMA trailers made my heart seize ever so briefly. BUT! But there were houses that looked good as new, or better yet, as if they had never been drowned in flood waters in the first place. This made my heart burst back into a fast paced rhythmic beat. So as I drove through the neighborhood seeing devastation here and progress there my heart was on some kind of roller coaster ride. And quite frankly, it wore me out.
One thing that totally caught me by surprise was the fact that, in relatively no time, a new home has been constructed on the lot where my Grey Craftsman Bungalow with the Red Front Door once stood. And let me tell you… That made me so happy! It’s great to know that life will go on in that sweet spot.
Isn’t it cute?! I think so! That said… I have to admit, that I’m still partial to my ol’ bungalow.
And finally I stopped at my childhood home, which my parents sold following the flood. I’m so happy to see that it’s being restored with great thought and care. I think it looks pretty darn beautiful!
But just as with my old house, I’m partial to how this looked pre-flood. The formerly yellow exterior was bright and cheery. And as you can see, with brown surroundings (dead yards and trees) the yellow would be, in my humble opinion, a welcomed pop of color.
I’m a bit bias in some regards to the way things were, I can’t lie, but there’s also been so many great improvements. That is what I give thanks for and continue to pray for… Progress, progress, progress! And I am grateful and hopeful for progress because that means individuals and families are restoring their lives and returning to home sweet home.
P.S. A smile spread across my face this evening when I saw a couple of houses in my old ‘hood with brand spankin’ new red. front. doors.
This weekend will mark the one year anniversary of Minot’s historic flood of the summer of 2011. To this day it is still hard to wrap my head around all that has occurred in a year. Sometimes it’s hard to poke my head above the flood waters that supposedly receded. I mean, I know the water slipped back into its banks and has obediently stayed there. I know that. But I say “supposedly receded” because there are still times where it feels as if I’m floating, or even drowning in it. Even if only momentarily. Knowing one thing and feeling another is its own special kind of torture.
Yes, the water may be gone. The damage though… It doesn’t wash away so easily, so cleanly, so readily.
(The third floor of a Minot residence is just now being gutted - even though the flood waters didn’t reach that floor, it wasn’t able to be saved due to mold damage)
Ten years ago our country was grappling with the aftermath of the heartbreaking and horrific attacks of September 11th. I remember at some point, perhaps on the one year anniversary of the attacks, seeing a TV special featuring kids impacted by the devastation of September 11th. In fact, I believe they had all lost parents that fall day…
The kids were at a special camp to help them begin to process their loss and cope and grieve. The last scene I remember is that of the children gathering at a lake at dusk with small paper boats they had made to honor their deceased parents. They wrote messages on the boats and set them sail with a tiny lit candle. (In my Googling attempts I learned that a bereavement camp in Texas, Camp HeartSong, also utilizes this ceremony.) The boats peacefully floated for quite some time while a voice-over talked about how some Asian cultures do this very thing as way to remember their loved ones no longer with them. The boats serving as tangible signs of their grief.
A few years ago I didn’t lose a loved one, but I felt like I had lost a bit of myself for this and that reason and then I recalled the paper boats… So I decided I wanted to write a message to myself and to no one, and to everyone. To God. I would pull the muck out of me and let it spill on a piece of paper and then I would fold it up and release it in the Souris River, which I did. It didn’t solve everything of course, but it felt…freeing…and peaceful. I swear my heart’s grip relaxed just a bit.
I have tried to find some history in respect to this beautiful custom and though I haven’t been able to find much concrete explanation for it, it does appear that the Chinese will sail paper boats during their Ghost Festival; they release “miniature paper boats and lanterns on water, which signifies giving directions to the lost ghosts and spirits of the ancestors and other deities”. I also learned that some people will float the paper boats with candles on China’s traditional Qingming Festival, or Tomb Sweeping Day to express grief. What I found to be most interesting while doing a bit of Google searching on the subject is that, “Qingming was first used to describe the peaceful scene after a flood”.
The peaceful scene after a flood…? Hmm…
In some ways, we still wait for peace here. More accurately, we work towards it and we work. And work. And work. I don’t know if we have a “peaceful scene” just yet. There is peace in the valley and some people have a bit of peace. But there is still so much ache and anger and plain ol’ work that it would be completely disrespectful on my part to not acknowledge that. The “scene” is still being mended and constructed.
People are working hard to reclaim peace, mucking out and revitalizing their homes and businesses and schools and churches and parks. People are working very hard. However, I hope and pray people remember to work on themselves too. That they remember to tend to their hearts and muck out the damage the flood caused in there as well.
One way I will be doing that on the one year anniversary of the Souris River flood for myself and for my family and friends is by again grabbing a simple piece of paper, complicating it with the flood debris that clings to the walls of my heart, letting words and prayers pour out of me, carefully folding it all up, and then… Then I will release it back into the very waters it came from. Not forever, perhaps, but life is made of moments and that will be a peaceful one.
Indeed, this weekend marks the one year anniversary of the flood. A baptism, if you will. But I think it is pertinent to remember that our own baptisms mark something far more important… God’s love. And maybe that sounds corny, but it is the truth. God’s love was and is evident in the outpouring of prayers from so many people. It was and is evident in all of the help our community has received, as well as how our community has responded to one another.
For me personally, this includes the stranger who helped me evacuate most of my furniture the day before the sirens sounded and, in so doing, saw my underwear drawer. (Sorry, sir…) It was evident in the ladies who meticulously wrapped up my momma’s many breakable and so cherished belongings. It was evident in the new friends who darn near flew to my house without even being asked, borrowing a co-worker’s truck and quickly filled it and took it all to higher ground where another dear friend let me store it in her garage for months. It was evident in the strangers who were driving through my neighborhood just hours before the National Guard knocked on my door, looking for anyone and everyone they could offer assistance to; they yelled out their window if I needed help and even though I was too…proud or stubborn or exhausted or stupid or whatever…to wholeheartedly say, “Yes! Please!” they parked their cars anyway and followed me into my home grabbing everything they could possibly cram into my vehicle and the trailer my uncle was pulling. It was evident in the embrace I shared with my poppa in our sweaty and dirty flood attire after walking through my parents’ house together for the first time. Everyone else had left and he was going to secure the remains of their home. I turned and saw him dazed and felt compelled to hug him. I needed to hug him. For him. For me. And all he could do was apologize through tears to me for my house, which I rented from my parents, being destroyed. As if he could have held the water back somehow… (That has been one of the most profound moments of my life.) It was evident in my aunts who helped my parents salvage what they could out of their house and my Aunt Jane, my mom’s sister, simply having a beer (or two) with my parents in the evenings so they could just be. It was evident in the friends who helped me salvage what I could from my own house; we sat on empty plastic totes and packed up memories for hours. (Some people might refer to them as “things”, but…) It was evident in the Lutheran Disaster Response volunteers from Michigan who mucked out my parents’ home for them. It was evident in the friends who became family, welcoming me AND my two dogs into their home. It was evident in my parents who helped me in so many ways move into a new home, which had also been flooded, but with their help was repaired by skilled men whose own homes were ravaged by the flood. Most recently, it was evident in my brother and sister-in-law helping my parents get situated in their new home.
Remember, this “it” I speak of is God’s love. God’s love made evident in the thoughts, love, prayers, and actions of his people before, during, and after last summer’s flood. The flood that may have named us as survivors, but could not claim us. However, we have been named and claimed by God; in our baptisms we are marked with the cross—sealed with God’s grace, peace, and love. So while this weekend may mark the flood’s anniversary and all the death that came with it, I like to think that it also beckons in a re-birth and new life. Death does not remain. God’s love does. I still say that with conviction because we are marked with God’s passionate, irrational, unconditional love. And there is no way flood waters can wash that marking off or wash that love away.
“By the baptism of his death and resurrection, your Son Jesus has carried us to safety and freedom. The floods shall not overwhelm us, and the deep shall not swallow us up, for Christ has brought us over to the land of promise. He sends us to make disciples, baptizing in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” (From Sundays and Seasons, Augsburg Fortress).
Want to make a paper boat of your own and release it with me? Here’s a “how to”. You are welcome to join me and others on Sunday, June 24th at the 8th Street Walking Bridge at about 10:15 a.m. In remembrance of the flood, members of my church, First Lutheran, will be joined by Christ Lutheran and Augustana Lutheran church members for “a time to reflect, heal, and celebrate”.
These skeletons are houses in my old hood. Still sooooo much work to do in Minot from last summer’s flood. Please pray for our community and if you wanna get your hands dirty, come on up and volunteer! You have no idea just how grateful we would be. :)
Flipping through a notebook from this summer and fall, I came across the following. While I have some peace with my old home and am blessed to have my new home, I just wanted to share this. Do you think I get attached to people, places, and things easily? Um, yeah…
Dear Craftsman Bungalow:
I’ve missed you. I’ve missed your old, creaky wood floors—even the nails that would pop up from time to time and snag my socks or cut my feet. I miss your beautiful windows in spite of how drafty they were and how they’d stick. I miss the details that went in to you… The little French doors in the den. The high baseboards. The big, detailed vents. I miss the old porch that had been opened up into the house and how the floors sloped there. (You had your quirks.) I miss the way you felt on a winter weekend with the heat roaring and me sitting on the couch with my dogs drinking tea and watching a favorite movie. I miss how my dogs would sprint about you. I miss how the sun would shine in you at the start of spring and how late night summer winds would breeze through you. I miss your front steps and sitting there. I like to think of how many people and families called you home since 1921 and I like to think I loved you best.
It came to my attention on Tuesday that my former home, my shelter for over three years, my beloved Gray Craftsman Bungalow with the Red Front Door was torn down due to the damage sustained during the 2011 Minot Flood. It was torn down and its footprint was filled in, burying with it random leftover belongings I wasn’t able to save. Pieces of my life and of me.
(The empty lot where my house once lived.)
Funny how a filled in hole can dig a new hole in my heart.
But I knew this was going to happen. I knew the ol’ girl, built in 1921, was going to be torn down when I saw she was taped off and had a gaping hole in her side. I knew this was going to happen. I hadn’t lived in her since some obscure night in June and hadn’t gazed out of her beautiful old windows, or heard her front door sigh shut since June 22nd. I knew this was going to happen. I moved into a new, lovely home in November. I knew this was going to happen. I knew she was going to fall.
I knew and still… Still it hurts. It’s sad. Very sad.
It’s just one more reminder of the flood and all of the change that has resulted. There’s been bad change and there has also been good change. But there has simply been so much of it all in so little time that, good or bad, it’s just difficult to process. Or so overwhelming to process that you leave emotions haphazardly piled up on some high shelf in your heart like belongings quickly packed up and stored on the highest floor in your house when you evacuated it. And so these reminders wear on you because they encompass you—worn roads, non-working stoplights, dirt and debris, dull brown yards with bright white FEMA trailers, darkened neighborhoods, broken homes and buildings and churches that blend together in your peripheral vision as you whip past them in your car.
(My house after the flood waters rescinded.)
It all reaches out to you with dirty hands, this mess, and pulls on you in every which way and you have to fight through it. You have to. You have to move on, both figuratively and literally. So you do. You move on. You repair your house or you move into a new one. You drive out of the valley and it’s as if nothing ever happened.
And that hurts too.
Then there are the more subtle reminders. The ones that completely catch me off guard and have me thinking, If the flood is over why am I still drowning? Memories of what “normal” used to mean. They’re simple, overlooked memories. The kind that fill up your life without you even realizing it. Running through a gorgeous green park. The sun filtering in through those beautiful old windows of the Craftsman Bungalow and the creaking of the patched wood floors underfoot. Walking to my parents’ house for dinner. Sitting on my front step chatting on the phone with a dear friend about nothing in particular whilst imagining I was on an NYC stoop. Some are more specific and some memories are more like, Well, at this time last year I would have been doing this… Or, If it hadn’t flooded, this would have/would not have happened… There are also the “things” that trigger like, I lost those cookbooks in the flood. Or, I thought I lost those shoes in the flood!
(My dogs enjoying a summer afternoon at our former home.)
Hurt and hope are often held in the same hand and held onto tightly.
All of these reminders make my chest ache in a way that is unique to the flood, but also in a way that makes me recall and feel all the kinds of hurt I’ve experienced throughout my life. My mind races from one experience to the next, pin-balling from one particular pain before bouncing off and slamming into another and then ricocheting to yet another. Perhaps it’s my mind’s way of distracting me from the localized ache of the flood… There’s only so much you can take, I suppose.
On Tuesday (3 April 2012) I ventured to the lot where my old home once existed. I climbed the few steps up to the yard and stood in what was once my living room, but is now dirt. I was surrounded by people who prior to the flood I didn’t know all too well, but who are now family. A good change that resulted.
We had a funeral for the Grey Craftsman Bungalow with the Red Front Door. We read scripture and prayers and it was brief, but it was something. Something I didn’t really know I needed until the idea was proposed to me. And then it was something I was afraid of because… Because the focus was on me and supporting me and lifting me up in prayer and with that there might be some emotions that spill out, Heaven forbid. I wear my emotions on my sleeve, but I certainly don’t want to be using that same sleeve to wipe them off of my face as they pour out of me. Besides, I am far from a pretty crier.
I’ve been learning a lot about my faith this past year and I still have so much to learn so I’m not sure if I’m stretching on this one… But as I was sitting in the wooden pew in my church last night during our Maundy Thursday worship service I was kind of struck by the timing of the demise of my old home. The “final” loss of it and the upcoming loss/sacrifice of Jesus that we will remember today, Good Friday. Then I returned to my new home later yesterday evening and I read an article that one of my pastors—one of the people who became family and surrounded me during the funeral for my old home—had posted on his Facebook profile. An article that said, “[…] Holy Week teaches us all a lesson in losing. We are not losers, but we have been reduced, some of us to what feels like our touchstone. On Maundy Thursday we discover that even when everything has been taken away, something remains.”
Isn’t that the truth.
The flood took away my old house, the first house I ever lived in all on my own. And it took away my childhood home, the home my family moved into when I was two years old. It took away something from my parents that I can’t quite articulate, but I know I miss. It took away my former “normal” life. The flood took away a lot and what it replaced it all with has been some version of death and the feelings associated with death.
Anger. Confusion. Sadness. Emptiness. Grief. Vulnerability. Heartache.
But death does not remain. Jesus conquered death for you and for me. And that is something that, much like the funeral for my old home, I don’t always remember I need until it is Holy Week. And then it’s something that kind of scares me. I mean, that is some. kind. of. love. A love as intense and passionate and purposeful as that…? Whew! It’s a bit scary in the very best way possible.
Death does not remain. Love does.
Death with its anger, confusion, sadness, emptiness, grief, vulnerability, and heartache does not remain. The destruction of this flood does not remain, though it will linger. Likely for some time.
What remains is the opportunity to begin anew. The chance to rebuild ourselves just as we rebuild our homes and our community. Memories remain. Friendship flourishes. The truth behind the phrase “home is where the heart is” becomes well known. A sense of family and the importance of it deepens. Faith is challenged, which is good. Hope grows. Love never fails.
Death does not remain. Love remains.
Amen. Thank you Jesus.