Some of you have certainly seen the photos of Nashville in recent days. Others of you may not be aware of the severity of the flooding here in the Nashville and surrounding areas. All I can really say is that it is absolutely heartbreaking to see the damage the floodwaters caused.
Trevecca sits about 3 miles from downtown Nashville where the Cumberland River overtook roads, restaurants, and so much of what gives Nashville its personality. Though we experienced some flooding on campus and some issues related to soggy electrical wires in buildings, we have been very lucky to have been spared much damage. Graduation is Saturday and the stage is being built as I type.
However, it is quite surreal to be sitting here in my office looking at the beautiful blue skies through my window – knowing that just a couple of miles away there is utter devastation.
The neighborhood that sits behind Gerron’s parents’ house was flooded. Their house is close to Opryland. We drove over to check on the house a couple of mornings ago when the water was still rising. Their house was safe, but the area surrounding their house was one of the hardest hit in Nashville. It was unreal to drive past the KOA campground and see RV’s completely underwater. And the water was still rising. Opryland Hotel – an obnoxiously huge yet amazingly beautiful hotel had over 10 feet of water inside. And the water was still rising.
Homes that were well outside of areas requiring flood insurance were utterly destroyed. In fact, just a road over from us sits a house where it is apparent the “creek” took over. It gives new meaning to “a river runs through it”. A little church that we pass on the way to the girls daycare looked as though someone drove a semi in one side and out the other – with all its contents strewn for miles.
The waters are no longer rising. They are starting to recede but what is being uncovered is incredibly daunting. Paralyzing to think about at times. And yet I know we’ll recover. I know we have the means and equipment and manpower. It will take a long time. It will be very expensive. Friends who have lost homes and cars and items of great sentimental worth have a long, long road ahead of them. Schools have a ton of cleaning up to do. Our roads are in bad shape. But I know we’ll recover. I have no doubt.
Pray for us. Yes, that the cleanup will not cost billions of dollars – that no more lives will be lost – that recovery will come quickly. But also pray that the people of Nashville will lead the way in the future when others experience this kind of devastation. Pray that our compassion and empathy will grow. We will never be the same – and that’s okay. What is ahead is a new day, a new opportunity and a new awareness.