If you have been reading my blog from my first day, way back in December when I started the 30 day challenge to prove to myself I could do it, you will have read about Boxing Day 2015. The town where I live & work was hit by some serious flooding bringing an abrupt end to our holiday enjoyment. It was followed by a big clean up which was a challenge whilst many of us were without power for more than three days. Today it’s four months on from flooded homes, businesses and places of worship. Oddly enough Mother Nature again showed us the power of an erratic climate. The sun shone brilliantly until about 2pm when snow took it’s place. Definitely a fire and ice day! That reminded me of Earth’s ArchAngel Rophea. She is the Angel who helps us balance extremes, physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. So it seems only fitting that my day has been one of extremes. As I worked my way through it I wondered how different things have become as a result of a flooded life.
My home was flooded but the main floor escaped damage. The power was out for three and a half days and the house became rather cold & damp. Yet my Centre and studio were warm and dry. I flitted between them microwaving, boiling the kettle, keeping in touch with the world through the Internet. My aunty and I wrapped up warm, dug deep into our ‘nothing is going to beat us’ spirit and kept each other going with laughter. On the 27th December I managed to get access to the local Spiritualist church where I am a committee member. The water had been up to nearly four feet high in the main body of the church (the basement was completely under water). Flooded furniture was thrown around by the power of the water. Hardly anything had escaped. It was the most dismal sight. A place where people came together as a community in muddy, soggy disarray. Yet on the 28th of December amazing people turned up from all over to help clear and clean the church. In fact, the town was full of people volunteering to help turn a disaster into something positive.
On the 2nd of January I went back to open my Centre. We sat around rather shell shocked by the state of the town. Lots of practical help was coming in but we knew that the financial and emotional impact of Boxing Day would take much longer to heal. Flooded out homes and shops mean people had lost their income as well as their possessions. They would need to divert their funds to necessities so paying for holistic treatments – even if much needed – would be low on the priority list. My lovely practitioner friends, also reeling from the catastrophe, happily offered to donate their services for free or at very low cost. We decided that we would offer our community as much healing and emotional support as we could. There was a plan! We could do it if we worked together.
On the evening of 20th January I was sitting once again in my Centre. I had hit my own personal wall. I’d had the depressing task of looking at the finances for the month. There was talk of a grant to help businesses and crowd funding. I really didn’t know if I had any energy left. Nothing seemed to be straightforward at all. Being flooded isn’t only about the actual water entering a place. It is the way it weaves itself into the fabric of the debates people have. Should I feel survivors guilt because I hadn’t had water in my business premises or did beening flooded at the church and home make me eligible to ask for financial help. Do I keep topping up the Centre from my other business if no one is going to be able to use it anyway? What about the other practitioners who would be displaced if I closed? Did I have any business left at all? It was a very gloomy, hard place to be in. I actually came home with the intention of closing down.
What helped me turn the gloom around was a conversation with my daughter. She asked me who else would look after the people who needed healing. And if the church wasn’t open where could she go to get her messages from her Grandma. I bless that conversation every time I get stuck. She reminded me of the focus I have had for the last ten years. I want to provide a space for people to have sanctuary. A place where the Spirit World can be acknowledged. Somewhere where healing can happen. I want to share that space with people who have been down to the bottom too and are slowly climbing back up into the sunlight. Otherwise what would be the point. The water might as well have taken me with it. Being flooded has been a test of my intentions.
So what about now? What about today? It started on a very positive note. I began clearing out the clutter. When the flood siren went I realised that everything important needed to be upstairs but there was so much that wasn’t really important. At the moment every room looks like an upside down mess because I didn’t quite get chance to tidy up after myself. That’s because I had to zoom off with my daughter for some joint counselling about a different kind of flood that happened to us seven years ago. Containing the emotional fall out of that time has been hard but now it’s finally safe to let it go. Going along for the support we talked about how people get helped. She really enjoys the massage that she gets at the Centre with Caroline. I really enjoy that the Centre is still there and offering such professional, caring and positive support.
This evening I went to the church AGM. It’s a small, friendly place with a great bunch of people who have been willing week in, week out to keep it going. We have had some wonderful evenings of mediumship with love, laughter and healing in every service. It takes a lot to repair a flooded place. We are still very much in the process of getting things together so it was special to see all my lovely friends once more able to visit. I have to say that not everyone can appreciate the dedication of the people who are trying their best to keep the church doors open. Perhaps you had to be there on the 28th of December to understand why it matters. Perhaps community is really only something you notice when the bad times pull everyone together. And perhaps empathy is a challenge when you really haven’t appreciated what it’s been like in our town for the last four months. I’ve certainly come across quite a few people who don’t get it at all including people who say they are there to help.
So what about four months on? I’m still here, balancing work, home, church and personal life. I’m stronger, more prepared to be emotional and very vocal about the work that still needs to be done. My home town needs a lot more TLC. There is some work to be done to get the people holding the purse strings to understand how short sighted they are being in missing the opportunities to help small businesses. People still need emotional support and will do for a long time yet. We will continue to do everything we can at the Centre to offer a listening ear. The church will still be a place of respite. I will get my home neat & tidy once again. Life will settle down again eventually. Our community will be stronger and more supportive. Being flooded is tragic but being a community who cares is a wonderful response. Best of all – the community will be celebrating Christmas again on 25th June to reward all of the volunteers who turned up to help. I can’t wait to see what Santa brings me for being good, lol.
Day 162 of my blogging challenge.