Yesterday was a bit of an emotionally daunting day… (thus the failure to blog!) We came over to my bros house for power and brekky… The floods waters had begun to subside and I got really restless and hated the thought of sitting around and doing nothing. The night before I had posted a blog including this video of a house completely under water in Karalee. Through twitter and facebook, two different strangers – Adrian and Carly from Karalee found the youtube video and asked if I could go and shoot some footage and take photos of their homes to prepare them for how bad their situation was because they were unable to get close enough to asses themselves… And to see if I could see any stray chooks wandering around the neighbourhood. I found one person who had spotted them… but they are yet to be found… hopefully they found a good home!
Wandering around neighbourhoods I met more people in MY community then I ever have and heard story after story of hardship and loss. I met ‘Pete’ and ‘Andy’ in the shop carpark up the road. They had made their way out of their isolated quarters on dirt bikes… I broke the news to them that the grocery store was out of power… thus out of food, KFC and smokes. We ended up having a great chat. Andy’s house was completely under water and Pete was housing them. Funny story – I spoke to Pete tonight and he’s now wired his house to run off a generator! Must look pretty funny being the only house in a neighbourhood with power!
Today, around lunch time I visited ‘Adrian’s’ house. The site was repulsive…
overwhelming and seemly impossible to clean up. I offered to take some clothes to wash and my parents and a good friend Mark stayed to clean up. By the time I got back you could see the floor boards. People from all over the place (maybe 20 people), unaffected by floods had turned up and just kept knocking on doors till they could find someone to help. It was truly amazing.
As I said in early blogs, my brother in North Ipswich had power the whole time. So we hit up his neighbours to help wash people’s clothes. This morning Tim and I return a basket of clothes to an elderly lady he had met the day earlier. She just held the clean clothes up to her face and shed tears of thankfulness. It was tear jerking for sure… somehow something so taken for granted every other day mean so much today! It was inspiring! I just want to thank the ‘mums’ in North Ipswich who chipped in (and still are) washing horrible, muddy clothes… I’m sure you never want to see another load again… and you may never know how much your help is immensely appreciated. One teenager was grateful she didn’t have to wear the same t-shirt for a forth day!
The second home I visited was Karlie’s. Her two story house went under up to the eaves. She was devastated to say the least. Thinking the water couldn’t possibly get to the second floor she left all her precious officework and business papers behind (and everything else) and escaped with her animals… only to come home today to find them not only saturated with mud and water but also covered with dirty, soaking insulation that had fallen everywhere when the ceiling collapsed. It was ghastly. Anyone that goes through this deserves a medal I reckon. I can’t comprehend it. Seeing all worldly possessions ending up over the balcony railing in a pile of rubble!
Carlie put it right though when she said, ‘It’s just stuff’ as we were looking down at the growing pile of rubble. It really is. We have our lives… and the stuff we’re blessed with along the way is just with us for a season. At some point we’ll all leave it behind. These guys have just all had an early ‘spring cleaning’. Makes you refocus on what truly matters. People. Humanity. Love. Sharing. Serving.
In some ironic way this flood has been a blessing. I’ve watched introverted people who dont like hanging out with people be forced to reach out or allow people to love on them. No human should have to deal with a crisis like this alone. And I don’t think we were made for that. Community. Sometimes I think the third world countries have this worked out better then us. They might not have much… but they live together, eat together, farm together… they KNOW each other. It takes us a natural disaster for us to realise we even have neighbours! I don’t know how many times I’ve heard the statement – “We’re gonna have to have a street party after this to celebrate!” And that’s what will happen. Queenslander’s are resilient! We will fight for each other. We will survive… and we will know how to LOVE better and SERVE better. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to meet so many ‘troopers’ in Karalee. I hope and pray God blesses you in your loss and provides in ways you could never think possible.
Love how twitter, facebook and youtube actually connected me to stranger who are now ‘real people’ who are becoming friends!
On a POSITIVE note… today I got to visit my new beautiful niece! She was born last night in Ipswich hospital. Thankfully the waters had subsided enough for them to get to the hospital safely. Congratulations Cherie and Matt.