The lights are on again! My part of the town has finally been reconnected to the electricity grid. It’s another sign of the recovery taking place after the flooding in the area. Today I drove through many places where piles of household objects outside on the pavement were a testament to the devastation that water can cause. It made me think about what has happened in the aftermath of Boxing Day.
In all sorts of ways strangers have stepped forward to offer help & support to get people back on their feet again. For the water that flooded into many peoples lives did knock us off balance. We tend to think of our homes as our castles – invulnerable, strong, safe. Having the elements prove that our safety is, at best, relative and, at worst, an illusion has a psychological impact that is hard to classify. I know that I got through some of the days by ‘soldiering on’ – I wasn’t facing the loss of anything more significant that the contents of my freezer and heat & light for a few days – so going out and getting cleaning up done was a useful distraction. Yet today I wasn’t ready for the impact that no heat, little in the way of hot food and the lack of electric light would eventually have. It’s hard to sleep when you are waiting for the next siren alarm to sound. Or when you are listening to who is moving about in the street and wondering what they are up to. When you are still groggy from concussion thinking straight is a challenge. Being positive in the wee small hours of a total darkness that you aren’t use to seems like too big an ask!
There has been so much help but not many people asking ‘what do you need’. I for one needed a hug. I needed someone to tell me to hang on because it was all going to be ok. I needed to have my wobble without some well meaning person trying to solve a practical problem that I didn’t have. I needed a hot shower & some plain, palatable hot food. I needed the Light back in my home again. With those small things I would be able to endure for much longer. Without them I was feeling weak, overwhelmed, alone in a crowded town. To stay positive I needed some room for all the low energy feelings to surface and be released.
I got my hug from a lovely man at the town hall. His words were a great encouragement. I got my hot food & a shower at my auntie’s home. I sat and had my wobble in my Centre where it’s always peaceful. I found I was ready to endure whatever I might need to as another storm front is moving in and the outcome is uncertain. Most of all, I found that in uncertain times the appreciation of small things restores hope. Without hope we are ready to sink under the water. Given hope we are ready to fight our way to the surface. Drowning stops being the only option. Hope lights up my life again, I am refreshed and renewed so the journey can continue.
Next time you offer to help try asking ‘what do you need’ instead of saying ‘I can do this or that, you only have to ask’. Asking for help isn’t always an option when you are trying to wrap your mind around what has just happened. If you ask about what is needed then you are offering hope. You are giving someone time to work out what it is they actually need, even what they feel about what has happened and you are kick starting the grieving process. You may find that you are hugging them (one way or another) through a wobble. What you will certainly be doing, alongside the hope, is giving them the strength to carry on enduring for a little bit longer.
Day 43 of my blogging challenge.