It’s different for me this time.
Always before when I’ve seen pictures on the evening news of devastation that has come as the result of a natural disaster, I’ve had great sympathy for those who have been impacted and, like before, I’ve prayed for everyone affected and given money to Christian organizations that were working at ground zero to meet the immediate needs of those affected.
However, since June 7, 2008, the day the flood hit our beloved city of Columbus, I no longer have sympathy alone.
I now have empathy, as well, because I know what it’s like to lose the inside of my home and all of it’s contents. I know what it’s like to:
- Be in shock for days until the reality of what just happened sets in.
- To see appliances and furniture and all other belongings stacked 10 feet high filling my entire driveway and being hauled away three separate times by city dump trucks.
- To see my now-grown children’s childhood keepsakes covered in mud and irreparable or beyond saving.
But you know what? I also know what it’s like to live in a city whose residents care and will do everything in their power to help those affected by a disaster.
- I can say the from personal experience, I know what it’s like:
- To see scores of people come to my home with buckets, cleaning supplies, crowbars, sledgehammers, drills and a bunch of tools that I’ve never seen before in tow.
- To be on the receiving end of the generosity of countless people, most of whom I’d never met before, bringing meal after meal after meal for weeks and others bringing case after case of bottled water.
- For people stopping by our reconstruction site to ask if there is anything at all they can do to help us.
- For people we don’t even know to give us gift cards or cash in case there was anything we need.
- For the Red Cross to bring us hot meals.
Everywhere we went, people were so kind to us as we experienced something people have called, “The Columbus Way.” Now, I know what this really means.
However, this time, there is a third thing I must do after seeing and hearing reports on the devastation brought about by Hurricane Harvey displacing a million people. This time, I’m closing my office at Confidential Christian Counseling until January and going to southeast Texas to aid in disaster relief.
This time, as a Christ follower, more is required of me — and I willingly go.
I would like to thank Columbus Police Chief John Rhode for his blessing to go in the capacity as a police chaplain. I would like to thank Lisa Renner for loaning me a car for the trip. And I would like to thank Tony London for donating several chaplain T-shirts to me.
I go with one request of you, my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ: Will you keep me in your prayers until I return in a few months?
Nita Evans of Columbus is owner of Confidential Christian Counseling, focusing her work especially with ministry leaders and their families. She also is a Columbus Police Department chaplain and a national retreat and conference speaker. She can be reached at 812-614-7838 or by visiting specialspeaker.com.