(photo credits:Rick Murray, submitted to The Tennessean)
This blog is not about abortion.
As many of you are Christians or Pro-Life, I would imagine that the title of this blog made you instantly raise your inner fists, ready for a fight.
I'm not going there.
But I thought all night about something, and as I formulated these thoughts and held them up to the light to see if they sparkled, I really set my heart on the title.
I live in Nashville, Tennessee. On May 1st and 2nd, I watched in horror and disbelief as my friends and neighbors were faced with a deluge of terror.
Most of you, Tennesseean or not, have seen footage of the immense flooding and loss that our cities faced this weekend. If you haven't yet done so, look them up. They are, in the simplest of words, unbelievable. Our city is reeling.
I watched the news station almost nonstop. Images kept pouring in, even as the tornado sirens in my neighborhood went off and our power came off and on and on and off.
Images...that stole our hearts and filled us with the sense that I can only describe by asking you to remember what it feels like to stand by the ocean. You feel small. Beside the ocean, it feels eerily comforting. When the ocean is the parking lot at your favorite restaurant, it is eerily disturbing.
Water lapped up towards the stop lights, missing them by an inch. Massive trees that have been around since before segregation were felled. Homes floated away. A woman gave birth in a safety boat as she was being rescued. A man lost his life before a boat could come to his aid.
Is that the Publix in Bellevue? I was just there last month!
Look! That's the old golf course on Blue Hole Road! My God...that man is going under the water.
The Schermerhorn is getting flooded. Oh...please let the water not touch that beauty.
All the while, calling friends. All the while, friends calling.
Are you ok? Are you safe? Did you lose anything?
All the while, telling friends that we were safe. All the while, friends telling us that they had lost their car or their garage or their electricity, or their home. Some lost their lives. I didn't know any of them. But their death, and the immense loss, fills Nashville with a different heavy cloud today.
I went to bed last night, and I thanked God sincerely for the dirty room in which I had put my children to bed. I thanked him for the huge pile of laundry that I *still* haven't done. I thanked him for my pillow and my soap and the diapers for my baby and my home that is still standing in the place it was built.
I thought with sickening sympathy of the thousands of people that share this city with me, that do not share the ability to have their own pillow, their own home, their own life. I thought of parents trying to comfort their kids at a shelter while they tried to make a small corner of a gym seem like a safe haven. I saw the exchanged looks between husbands and wives when their little girls asked them if they could go home soon. I could feel the dread of not knowing what they would do...there was no way to pay for the loss...there was no way to know when they would get their son's favorite toy that helps him sleep.
I thought of the morning after.
We've all experienced it. Something horrible, unspeakable, insurmountable, happens. We eventually put our head on a pillow, and sobbing we fall asleep.
The morning dawns, and we open our eyes. And for one very small, very precious second...we don't remember the day before. We might only have enough time to stretch our arms and wonder why our eyes sting. We might have enough time to lazily think about what kind of breakfast we'll have.
After that...the deluge.
The clipped scenes, a mental collage of all the pain from the previous day come unbidden to our hearts and we grieve anew, and sometimes more deeply than before.
I would, were I able, give something to all those neighbors of mine who are waking up this morning.
I do not want to sound crude, but if so I apologize.
The Morning After Pill was created to help people forget the night before. They want no trace of what occurred. They want no reminder. They take a pill, and life moves on.
If only we had such a device for truly terrible things. If only there was a little small thing to swallow to make the death of a loved one something that never happened. A second of bitter in your mouth, and your life came back to you...shining, untouched by tragedy, unhindered by the loss of home and life and stability.
I do not have such a thing. I cannot wish their life better this morning. My heart truly hurts as I think of those who are experiencing the seconds when the pain comes flooding back and they realize that it isn't time for work, because work is under water and they wonder if they will even have a job.
I don't have the Morning After Pill. And though it sounds so very cheesy, I do have hands...and feet...and I have (thanks be to God!) a home to share and baby clothes to give away and stuffed animals I can put in the hands of little boys who miss their favorite toy.
There are many, many ways to help the people of Middle Tennessee this morning. I'm going to my church to help do whatever they tell me to do. Cleanup or organization or handing out of goods to people in the community...I really don't care. I want to do it all.
I hope that in those minutes or hours or days that we help, we can ease the pain of those seconds of The Morning After.
(photo credits: Shelley Mays, submitted to The Tennessean)