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Jewish World Review
June 20, 2008
/ 17 Sivan 5768
Starting from scratch
I've never had to start over. At least not completely. And not from scratch.
Sure, I've had to start over in the kitchen a number of times cooking endeavors
that wound up in the trash, down the disposal or simply went up in flames. But there
were always more ingredients in the cupboards.
And yes, I've had to start over on painting projects (too pink), wall papering
(crooked stripes) and refinishing projects, but the foundation was always there.
I have had to start over on my faith a number of times - return to square one and
inch forward but I always had a point from which to regroup and begin again.
I have never had to start over when the cupboards were bare, the foundation
crumbling and my faith bordering on despair. And now, after the worst flooding in
100 years, many fellow Hoosiers are doing just that. They're starting over.
Completely, and from scratch.
Thunderstorms, tornadoes, straight-line winds and raging flood waters have pummeled
the entire Midwest. It has been one red and yellow storm front after another roaring
across Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin. Nature's
campaign of shock and awe has ignited the skies, spawned funnel clouds, and
triggered epic rains.
Welcome to summer.
One news clip showed a man scooping out shattered debris from his shell of a house
with a snow shovel. Scoop and swoosh the contents of the kitchen and garage are
out with the trash, just like that. At least the man still had a shovel.
Then there was the man sloshing his way through knee-deep water lugging a computer
monitor, a CD player and a bicycle tire. Not much to work with, but it was
And then there are the houses that collapse in slow motion as the earth gives way
and the lovely four bedroom/two bath with the three-car garage is swallowed whole by
the raging flood waters. Not only is the house gone, but the land on which it stood
has been sucked into a cauldron as well.
We all wonder how we'd do it how we'd start over if we were the ones on the
television and not the ones watching the television.
I supposed you do it the way everyone who has survived a natural disaster before you
has done it. You go numb, you anguish, then you count your blessings that you're
still alive and put one foot in front of the other. You start small. You begin in a
corner and work your way out. You begin making piles, things that are salvageable,
things that are rubbish, things that have a future and things destined to remain a
part of the past.
You make calls and more calls and find sustenance one day at a time.
You find comfort in community - that others are struggling alongside you, wading
through the same disbelief, brown water, suffocating heat and sweltering humidity.
I imagine you do the big exhale at the sight of the Red Cross, the Salvation Army
and the troops in fatigues. It must also be reassuring to know that those who
escaped unscathed are doing more than watching. They are praying, writing checks,
phoning in credit card numbers, donating supplies and cheering you on, not only as
you start again, but all the way to the finish.
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JWR contributor Lori Borgman is the author of , most recently, "Pass the Faith, Please" (Click HERE to purchase. Sales help fund JWR.) and I Was a Better Mother Before I Had Kids To comment, please click here. To visit her website click here.
© 2008, Lori Borgman