Tragedy struck the sweet state of Louisiana last week. Rain became the enemy and the cause of all chaos as water levels rose and began flooding people's homes and businesses. Suddenly, thousands of people found themselves without a home and with little to nothing to their name. Shelters filled with broken people who were still coming to terms that they may not have a place to call home anymore.
While volunteering at The Celtic, a makeshift shelter in Baton Rouge, I met a woman. Her name was Marge, and she was anxious, upset, but worst of all, alone. She began to tell me her story. Her daughter was in California, and her husband had died five years ago. Marge continued to say that while she was worried about whether or not her house would be damaged, she was more worried that the things she had been forced to leave behind would be lost forever. No, these things were not her favorite pair of shoes or the new couch she had just bought. They were the baby photos of her only daughter, the piano her husband had bought for her, and every other item in that home that held a memory.
Imagine losing everything that ever meant something to you and made you happy in the blink of an eye. While listening to Marge tell stories about the things she owned, I could tell she was hurting because all she was thinking of was that she may have lost all the things that held on to the memories she had and how completely unbearable that was. Eventually, Marge said she couldn't even talk about it because she may cry at the idea of losing the things her deceased husband had given her. Suddenly, my entire perspective on how much this flood had impacted the people of my home state changed.
Louisiana flood victims did not just lose their homes and the things in it. They lost the box filled with prom pictures and old high school year books filled with notes and inside jokes from old friends. They lost the baseball bat their dad surprised them with when they were five. They lost the home they learned to walk and talk in. They lost the things that reminded them of the happiest moments of their life.
That is why this flood is so devastating. Because people did not just lose "stuff." Pray not only for provision for those who were affected. Pray for healing and comfort. Pray that the people who are hurting don't look at the memories they think they may have lost but rather look forward at the memories they can continue to make. Lastly, pray for Louisiana to remain strong and united in this difficult time because when the community comes together, those who are broken can begin putting back the pieces.