Yesterday was a day that will we will probably not ever forget. It was a day of historic rainfall, with almost four and a half inches of rain falling in a matter of hours. With a yearly average of eight inches, that much water falling within a few hours is a recipe for disaster.
The day started early when we got up to take Jordan to seminary at 5:00 am. Several inches of rain had fallen on Saturday night, causing some flooding for our friends down the street. Greg was very worried about them when he saw the amount of rain that had fallen overnight. He got up and walked around the exterior of our house with a flashlight, and noticed that the water was dangerously close to coming over the foundation in a few places. However, it seemed to be dry on the inside from what he could see, so he went down the street to see if our friends were OK while I took Jordan to seminary. There were roads closed due to flooding, and we had to take a major detour on the way, but we finally made it unscathed.
When I got home, I saw Greg outside talking with a member of our ward (church congregation), and that is when I noticed how much water had collected in our front yard. Our bishop had been at our friends’ house since 3:00 am, trying to help them as the second room in their house started to flood. He told Greg that they were on their way to help us.
In the meantime, the kids were up and getting ready for school. Suddenly Carson yelled from his room “Mom, why is my floor wet?”
Sure enough, the carpet in his room was saturated. When I went outside to let Greg know, this is what I saw:
Yes, that water was right up to our doorstep.
But, that is not what attracted my attention. There were probably 20 guys from our ward, who had dropped everything and came to our house at 6:00 in the morning to help stop that water from doing any further damage to our house.
They were using this pile of dirt that we just collected after needing a new 50 foot dry well to fix our septic system last week. Although we were not excited about that repair, the dirt sure came in handy.
Those amazing men were piling dirt in tarps around our house to try to keep water out.
Meanwhile, the garage was halfway flooded.
This water that was pooling up outside, although it does not look like much, was seeping through the wall of Carson’s bedroom.
We pulled up the carpet in his room, and there was standing water on the concrete underneath.
Those wonderful men were trying to divert the water away from that spot using trenches and sump pumps.
The backyard looked like this:
We found this rug floating in the water…how ironic.
On the other side of this fence, men were working feverishly to get the water out to the road by pounding holes in the wall and digging a
canal trench from the wall to the road.
That also drained all of this:
Then they put a hole in the wall from the driveway to the backyard, which ultimately removed all of that water from the driveway to the street in the front. That is some serious engineering!
Later in the day, after most of the water had drained away, the young men from our ward came and dug a deeper trench around the area where the interior flooding had occurred, in hopes of preventing future flooding if more rain comes.
Meanwhile, inside we discovered that there was water behind the kitchen cabinets. But, rather than rip them out, another brother from our ward, who owns a carpet cleaning and restoration business, came and set up a couple of big carpet fans to blow underneath the cabinets to dry out all of the moisture. He did the same thing for Carson’s room after the wet carpet was removed. I think the only thing that will need to be replaced is that carpet, thanks to the quick help from so many amazing people.
Nobody ever wishes to go through something like this. I am beginning to think that water troubles are going to follow us forever. But, I am completely overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support from our ward, neighbors, and friends. They came in masses, at a minute’s notice, to our aid. Men who were supposed to be at work were instead over here in the pouring rain, dawning rain coats and shovels, working to save our house from a worse fate. The troops were somehow mobilized, and I’m not even sure exactly how that happened. I only know that there were over 20 men here at one point.
The women also came. They helped to pull carpet up and mop up water inside. They brought their shop vacs and tried to help me save the carpet by extracting as much water as possible. They took my kids when school was cancelled. They brought dinner, and offered to bring dinner. (I turned down several offers for food because I already had some coming.)
There were people in all fields of expertise coming to offer their services – from cabinetry to engineering and drainage, to carpet. We would have been in serious trouble without their help, and my heart is so full that a simple “thank you” is not nearly adequate. Sometimes it takes something like this to remind you of how many wonderful people there are in the world, who are anxious to help in any way that they can. My faith in humanity was strengthened a hundred fold yesterday. I am still humbled and in awe.
I really don’t even know who all of these shovels belong to. Some of the people who came barely knew us. I only know that I want to be the first to respond if ever anyone else is in need…even if it is an inconvenience (missing or being late to work was surely an inconvenience when help came for us)…even if I already have plans…even if I don’t know the people very well. I want to be there.
Now we just have to clean up the aftermath.
I fear we may never get rid of all that mud. I’m sure that our yard will never be the same, but maybe that is a good thing. We definitely don’t want this to happen again. I fear an entire re-landscape and drainage overhaul may be necessary. Just one more thing.
After a discouraging and stressful day, when we were just finishing up the necessary fortifications against the rain that was still in the forecast, the beautiful full moon reminded me that there are more important things than a flooded house that has been a constant financial drain since we moved into it last year.
I have amazing friends, who love my family. I have a wonderful husband and children who will be with me for eternity, thanks to the covenants that we made in a beautiful temple. There is more to life than what I see right now.
There are experiences from the past that have shaped me and taught me much, and a bright future to look forward to. As much as I would love to avoid trials and have a life of smooth sailing, I know that overcoming hard things makes me stronger. It helps me to appreciate the good times more. It also helps me to be more grateful for the people that surround me – those who are there to lift, strengthen, and help me. It reminds me that God often answers our prayers through the help of others, and I want to be one whom he can rely on.
Through struggles come blessings in unexpected ways. I am grateful to God, who cares enough to allow me to experience hardship because a life of smooth sailing would not shape me into the person that He wants and needs me to be.
I love these words from President Thomas S. Monson:
Our Heavenly Father, who gives us so much to delight in, also knows that we learn and grow and become stronger as we face and survive the trials through which we must pass. We know that there are times when we will experience heartbreaking sorrow, when we will grieve, and when we may be tested to our limits. However, such difficulties allow us to change for the better, to rebuild our lives in the way our Heavenly Father teaches us, and to become something different from what we were—better than we were, more understanding than we were, more empathetic than we were, with stronger testimonies than we had before.
This should be our purpose—to persevere and endure, yes, but also to become more spiritually refined as we make our way through sunshine and sorrow. Were it not for challenges to overcome and problems to solve, we would remain much as we are, with little or no progress toward our goal of eternal life. The poet (Douglas Malloch, “Good Timber,” in Sterling W. Sill, Making the Most of Yourself (1971), 23.) expressed much the same thought in these words:
Good timber does not grow with ease,The stronger wind, the stronger trees.The further sky, the greater length.The more the storm, the more the strength.By sun and cold, by rain and snow,In trees and men good timbers grow.”