Thursday, May 13, 2010

They Really Are Perceptive

While I understand he gets it honest, Cooper likes to talk. A lot. It is not uncommon for us to drive all the way home from church (30 minutes) with Cooper talking the entire way. No exaggeration. And most of the time we have fun conversations while we are in the car and I really don't mind all of the talking. As I said before, he got it honest. Sometimes, however, I don't fully engage and/or don't fully pay attention to what he saying or talking about. The other day we were waiting in the care for Allison to come down from her office. He was talking to me and I was listening to the radio. As he was talking I was halfway paying attention and responding generally. The conversation went something like this:

Cooper: Daddy, are we in the car?
Me: Yes.
Cooper: Daddy, are we going home.
Me: Yes. (at this time I started to check out because he was asking questions simply to have something to say)
Cooper: some question that I don't remember
Me: Yeah
Cooper: another question I don't remember
Me: Yeah
Cooper: Daddy, you're not really listening to me, you're just saying yeah. You're supposed supposed to say 'Oh, yeah that's right!'

He totally busted me. So many times we think they aren't comprehending or paying attention. They definitely are. I guess I need to pay more attention, huh?

Monday, May 10, 2010

A Tale of Two Disasters

I can't imagine that anyone who is reading this blog is unaware of the events that took place in Nashville and the surrounding areas on May 1-2. If you aren't aware, there was what people are calling a 1000 year flood on that weekend. Hundreds of homes are destroyed and at least 10 people have been confirmed dead in Davidson County alone. I have been trying to process in my mind all that I have seen over the past 9 days or so. Every time I think about it my mind takes me back to Good Friday last year.

Cooper was out of school and I was off work. We had lunch with Allison at her office and when the news started calling for a tornado warning we left to head home. As Cooper and I got home the weather was really bad. We got in a closet and sat for several minutes as I listened to the TV from inside. When I was convinced that we were not in any danger we got out and I started watching the weather. As I watched they were switching back from the radar to a live feed from on top of the courthouse from the square in Downtown Murfreesboro. As I was watching the screen I saw what turned out to be a very large tornado pass by.

The next day I went out with LifePoint Church to help with the cleanup. We spent several hours cleaning trash and debris out of the yard of a friend. After that I spent the next few hours driving a gator around the neighborhood passing out cookies, water, and crackers to volunteers and victims of the tornado. I've never seen anything like that before. I literally stood on the foundation where, not 24 hours before, a house stood. I helped a lady try to salvage a tea set that her mother had brought her from England that was inside a kitchen of a house that only had one wall standing. The devastation was unbelievable.

As we sat in our living room two Saturdays ago, I again saw images that I will never forget. I saw a portable classroom float down I-24. The same stretch of I-24 that I had driven on about 24 hours before. I saw boats moving down that same stretch of interstate rescuing people on live TV. I heard stories of people being stranded on the top of a jeep for an hour before they decided it was safer to try to ride the current to keep from drowning (they were correct and they survived). I also, however, hear stories of a dad that saved one child and went to save the other only to be swept away as well as an elderly couple that were swept away by flood waters on their way to church.

This past Saturday I spent a few hours tearing down dry wall in a house that had about 4 1/2 feet of water inside during the flood. We literally removed everything in the house except the studs. Even 7 days after the flooding occurred, there was still water inside the walls of the home. Up and down the street we were working on there were houses with the same story. All of the insides were being removed due to flood waters. Just a few streets behind an elderly couple were killed during the flood. Just as I did last April, I stood in the middle of devastation. Among that devastation, however, I witnessed something truly encouraging...friends, neighbors, and strangers helping each other in times of need.

I am still not sure I will ever fully grasp or process what I witnessed while trying to help people clean up what was left of their homes. What I do know, however, is that the people of Middle Tennessee are great people. There has been an out pouring of support for the flood victims. Hands on Nashville has had over 8,500 people sign up to volunteer. Churches all over the area have stepped up and spent countless hours trying to help people pick up the pieces. I have, essentially, lived in the Nashville area my entire life. Never before have I witnessed people helping people as I have during these two times of difficulty. Never before have a I been as glad as I am now to call Nashville my home.