Wednesday, August 31, 2011

I Love Her Because of Her Indomitable People

Photo by Amy James
As I write this, I am keenly aware that the flooding threat from Irene is not over with.  New Jersey is evacuating people by boat from their homes because the water is still rising.  The water is rising in Connecticut as well.  My prayers go out to all those who are effected.

Photo by Denis Boucher
The news from Vermont is better than yesterday, but far from over with, as far as recovery.  The state officials have managed to get to 12 out of the 13 towns that were cut off from supplies.  Clean up efforts are underway, but there is a long way to go!  And there are still people who are stuck where they are because the roads are still inaccessible.

Photo by Sandy Dibbell
My cousin, experienced this first hand.  Rose was actually able to make it home to Camels Hump after being stuck in Burlington for two days.  She described the drive like this: "picture a road made of soft chocolate with dips and curves and a space barely wide enough for a car, the road falling away as you drive."  She got in but she wasn't so sure she was getting back out today, but she was grateful to finally be home!

I was talking to my sister last night, as she was busy baking muffins and coffee cake to bring to the local fire station this morning.   She mentioned how God seems to give you what you need, when you need it.  She had read Psalm 69 that morning:
"Save me, O God, for the waters have come up to my neck.  I sink in the deep mire, where there is no foothold; I have come into deep waters, and the flood sweeps over me.  I am weary with my crying; my throat is parched.  My eyes grow dim with waiting for my God."
I think a lot of people in Vermont felt that way initially.  The disaster was overwhelming!  In this situation people have two choices.  They can think "every man for himself".  Or, they can think "every neighbor helping neighbor."  They chose the second option!  People pitched in to help those they knew, and those they didn't know at all, in cleaning up what was left behind.  There were individuals who pulled out their ATVs, Mountain bikes, even horses to get in to areas that had been cut off, in order to check on people and to bring in supplies.  Message boards sprang up to share photos and information and offer assistance.  Everyone was in this together and everyone was doing what they could to help others.  One of the best articles I saw on this, was in the Burlington Free Press.  Message From Rochester 

Photo by Sandy Dibbell
My sister said that Psalm 69 reminded her that it was time to stop wallowing and time to start helping.  Many of my friends have said the same thing!  My friend Amy, who was one of the first people to post pictures from my hometown, is working with the local Little League to gather supply donations to distribute to those in need.  Another friend, Alan, worked tirelessly to get the water out of the basement at Wesley United Methodist church.  There are many many people doing similar things because they understand the importance of faith in action and showing love to your neighbors.  They also understand that everyone is their neighbor, even the stranger!

Photo by Denis Boucher
Photo by Amy James
My friends, Amy James, Sandy Dibbell and my brother in law, Denis Boucher, were kind enough to give me permission to share some of their photos with you.  I can describe the devastation to you, but a picture is worth a thousand words!  These photos were taken after the water had gone down-it was actually much worse!  Amy and Denis posted photos from my hometown of Waterbury.  My friend Sandy lives near Cavendish/Reading area and her photos are from that area.  All over the state, the photos are similar, the destruction aftermath is major!

I could say that Vermont is down but not out but I don't think that's a true statement.  Vermont isn't down!  Vermonters are just dusting themselves off and rolling up their sleeves to get to work!  Vermonters are tough and resilient and they have brought out the very best in each other!  I am so very proud of my home state and the way that they have banded together!  President Calvin Coolidge had a wonderful quote attributed to him and it is the inspiration for the title of this blog post:
"Vermont is a state I love...I love Vermont because of her hills and valleys, her scenery and invigorating climate, but most of all, I love her because of her indomitable people."
I have shared with you about Vermont because Vermont is what I know!  But I also know that there are similar stories all over the northeast, mid-Atlantic and south and that is a reason to celebrate!   In our jaded society people have not forgotten the golden rule.  Kindness and caring do still exist!  Faith is still alive and well!

For those of you who are wanting to help out, I know the United Methodist Committee on Relief has something set up for North Carolina and the Pennsylvania area but I have not seen anything specific for New England.  When I do, I will post a link.   If you would like to help out in Vermont specifically, the Stowe Reporter posted an article online with specific links to organizations where you can donate.

Ways to Help Vermont Flood Victims

To my friends and family back home, I am with you in spirit!  I love you all-you indomitable people!

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