photo © 2007 Villager_87 | more info (via: Wylio)
“‘Water is patient, Adelaide, water just waits. It wears down the clifftops, the mountains, the whole of the world. Water always wins!’ says the Doctor in “The Waters of Mars” episode of Dr. Who. As it begins to rain again in Evansville, I think of this and our battle against flood water.
Though we cannot stop water, we can divert it. We can try to minimize the damage to homes and buildings and pray for sunshine so the water can recede. As we learn from water, we can gain tactical advantages over it. Lessons I’ve learned the past week.
- Start Right. If you begin to build a sandbag wall without learning how to do it right or planning it, you will probably fail. Plastic sheeting needs to be strategically placed because water seeps through sand. Your wall needs to be constructed so it will not collapse. Some recommend a pyramid style with as many rows at the base as you have rows high. Sandbags have to be filled correctly. If you just start throwing down a sandbag wall without this planning, it will either fail, or you will work 10 times harder trying to fix your mistake than if you had done it right the first time.
- Accept the Help You Get. Unless you absolutely know someone is physically or mentally incapable of helping with any part of a sandbagging operation, accept their help. One lady called me in an emergency this week to find sandbaggers for someone. I put out the call. One lady who called was turned down because she didn’t sound “strong enough” on the phone to manage sandbags. The lady who was turned down, a former Air Force veteran, then took her 4 youngest children to another location where they worked for an entire day. She worked out a system for her own family where she held the bags and directed her sons as they filled and lifted them. If someone offers you a flood relief meal of sandwiches, don’t refuse and hold out for a donation of hot food. Those you alienate today could well be people who would help you tomorrow if you thank them and treat them right.
- Care for Yourself. Stay hydrated – get plenty of water bottles for those you help and who help you. Then drink the water, as in the bottles, not the flood. Take that 5-10 minutes to take care of yourself in a crisis to pace yourself for the long haul. If it’s sunny, get sunscreen. Take especially good care of your feet.
Some day, the rain will stop. Instead of thinking how we can beat the water – we never will – we can figure out how to divert it and outwait it until the flooding recedes.
Then we can take the lessons we’ve learned and apply them to the rest of our lives.