Every cloud has a silver lining…

Published: January 31, 2014

photoAfter more than a month, the Somerset Levels are still underwater.  This kind of sight is becoming sadly more frequent, but it doesn’t make it any less devastating.  I sat watching the news last night and I couldn’t help but feel sorry for the people affected.  Seeing a burly looking farmer brought to tears at the sight of his business, his home and probably what feels like his whole life submerged in foul murky water was pretty heart wrenching.

The sight of flood water will always have a very personal effect on me, but perhaps in not quite the ‘shudder of dread’ way you might think.  Flooding makes me feel very grateful.

My friends were completely amazing when my own home flooded in 2007.   It was my very first home which I’d lovingly furnished and decorated from my own money, and I was so very proud of it.  But that fateful July day turned it into a grey sodden mess.  Whilst I was coming to terms with what had happened, food appeared from nowhere, someone moved me in to their spare room, and someone else helped me deal with paperwork.  My friends appeared in force and did more for me than I could ever imagine.  I’d never been so grateful and I’ve never looked at my friends in quite the same way again.  The reassurance, support and love they showed at a time when I really needed them, has had a much more long-lasting effect on my life than having to refurnish a house.

I wouldn’t wish flooding on anyone.  It is awful.  But I just hope the people in Somerset are as lucky as I was, and find that there are positive things to come out of a tragedy, and that these will last far longer than the floodwater ever will.

by Natalie Hill, Churches Officer

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One thought on “Every cloud has a silver lining…

  1. Part of the problem is the increase in paved areas which produce more rapid run-off, the other part of the problem is the lack of maintenance of the drainage systems, silting up of the rivers and ditches and, of course, the heavier than usual rains. My family were the victims of floods in 1968, and the fire station I was serving at was flooded in 1971, and I had to deal with flooding in the station and in our ‘protected area’ again in 1981 as the then Station Commander. Floods are, in a sense, as bad as fires, perhaps more so since there is little one can do to stop a flood.

    I almost had a sense of humour failure in 1981 when a well spoken lady approached me as I stood in knee deep water trying to direct my crew in salvaging the possessions of a family hit by the rising water and move them to a safer and drier place. Her peremptory – “Stop messing about, my man! Pump this water away or divert it.” I’d been at it for something like twelve hours at this point, and it took me a moment to get my temper on a level. I’m still proud of having, for once in my life, been able to come up with a ‘smart’ retort’. As calmly as I could I replied, ‘Certainly, madam. Where do you suggest I pump it too?’

    It is at times like this that one really discovers the true meaning of ‘community’ and friendship. And sometimes it comes from surprising directions.

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