The last couple weeks have made it difficult to want to write my 7 Apples at all. What can I offer to my readers after I’ve watched my City ravaged, after all I can think about is the grief, the loss and the recovery those in my community will be faced with for months and years? Walking through homes, meeting the devastated home owners, watching duct work, hot water tanks and life’s mementos being tossed into the dumpsters, has left me raw.
You cannot fathom the height, the depth, the width of it unless you’re in it. Listening to the stories, looking at the photos. Knowing that High River (population of 13,000) just a few minutes south of us is in complete ruin, the people displaced and staying wherever they can. Hearing that our beloved Canmore and Banff are once again accessible, the highway partially repaired, only to find out there was more flooding last night and Banff is once again unreachable. Some homes already flooded in Calgary were wet once again.
As a person who wants to inspire others, to offer hope and strength, this has been an emotional roller coaster. To offer trite words of hope seems so empty. I asked a home owner today how he was doing and then immediately apologized for the inappropriate question. He graciously smiled and said, “Yah, it’s all rhetorical, isn’t it?” His family is facing a $100K rebuild that may or may not be covered. They won’t know for another week.
As I’m writing this, I sit on my comfortable couch. The tv is on in the background. My dog is snoring not too far away and there’s a cold cup of coffee somewhere on the counter, waiting for me to warm it up in the microwave…that works. I have a fridge with food in it, I’m preparing to send my kids to camp for a week, their clothes all in tact, their sleeping bags not in dumpsters somewhere, or in the landfill like so many others’ ‘lives’ now sit.
It’s hard not to feel guilty for being okay, for not having to start over or deal with insurance companies who don’t want to help. Yes, our City and the surrounding communities have experienced an outpouring of love through the hard work and volunteerism that abounds. Of course I’m grateful for those who have come from all over the world to help us in our time of need. There are more stories of courageous acts, of selfless giving, than there are places to share all those stories. I think and ponder, however, about what will happen when those volunteers are gone and have to get back to their own realities? What happens when the news dies down, ‘normalcy’ returns and the barrage of media attention gets diverted elsewhere? Then what? Those who have experienced complete loss – jobs, homes, livelihooods – what will things look like for them 4 months down the road?
I want to make a difference, I want to offer hope, I want to be the person who helps others breathe a little easier. Right now, my 7 Apples doesn’t seem to be of much import…
- Unless I can ask you to go help someone who can’t give anything back.
- Unless I can encourage you to volunteer somewhere, somehow.
- Unless it generates a grateful heart for all you have…and have not lost.
- Unless it sparks conversation about how you can make a difference.
- Unless it stirs a desire in you to be more, do more, love more, give more.
- Unless it ignites a sense of urgency to teach your kids (or those you influence) the value of life and love, not things.
- Unless you come away from reading it not ever wanting to take anything for granted….ever again.