This last week has been a bad week in Louisiana.
First, the northern part of our state suffered catastrophic flooding. Then, the Southeast portion of our state (where I live and serve) has been hit with what has been called an “historic flood.” Saint Joseph’s Abby, a monastery built in the 1800s, has never flooded. But it did this week. That’s how historic it has been.
It’s also been a hard week.
While I can’t talk specifically about the hurts and needs in North Louisiana, I have seen firsthand the hurt, pain, and loss in southeast Louisiana.
The flood came because the area to our north received in excess of 15 inches of rain overnight. Therefore, we had “flash flooding,” a term I’m not sure I understood until I saw it firsthand.
I live three-fourths of a mile from a scenic little river called by the Indian name Bogue Falaya. The Bogue Falaya runs through my town of Covington and joins with the Tchefuncte River before it empties into Lake Pontchartrain. (those of you who are reading across the country and around the world can pronounce these names the best you can :).
I watched this little river (about 30 feet wide) inundate houses in just a few hours time (my house was not affected). It was heartbreaking to see my neighbors experience so much pain. For hours, the Sheriff’s department and neighborhood volunteers worked to rescue people who were trapped in their homes.
Neighborhoods and cities around us such as Franklinton, Bogalusa, Pearl River, Slidell, Folsom, Hammond, and many others suffered greatly.
My part of the world is not the only part that has suffered disaster. We need to remember that, and we need to remember that disasters are relative in nature. For example, we lost two precious souls in the flooding. I am thankful that most of our loss was economic and not human.
What can we do when people hurt?
First, we can pray. Prayer is not a last resort. It is a wonderful experience of taking hurting people to our Heavenly Father.
Second, we can do very practical things. When your house floods, you have to rip out carpet, take out other flooring, remove baseboards, and cut out sheet rock. You basically have to “gut” the house.
Since our flood came on the weekend, many people were able to help their family and neighbors and friends to go through this arduous task.
Third, you can give to people who have financial needs.
Finally, you can spend appropriate time with people who are grieving. Those who grieve need to tell their story, and they need someone who is willing to listen. You can express your understanding and help toward those who are hurting.
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