It was a Tuesday morning in January 2005 and although we had experienced rain for a few days, it wasn’t coming down hard enough to cause too much concern. The rivers were rising, and my husband, along with other men in our ward, were busy placing sandbags around the homes closest to the rivers. I was home, taking care of my daily activities. We were taking precautions, not getting too overly anxious over a little rain… UNTIL….. I received a call from my husband: “Creekside #58 is going into the river, get men down here NOW! There is no time to waste!” In a moment, my focus went from making lunch to panic! I ran down the street to the men who were sandbagging by the river and I yelled for their help as I approached. Within seconds, they were piled in trucks, heading for the neighborhood down the street. A few of the neighborhood moms offered to watch the little children while the other moms rushed to the Creekside neighborhood to lend a hand. Older children were sent home early from school before the roads and bridges closed, which would force children to be away from home for the evening. We all anxiously waited for news….
#58 fell into the river, followed by houses on either side. The stream that we graciously call the Santa Clara “River” now resembled the roaring Mississippi and it commenced in taking chunks of land out from under the homes as it cut a new path, far from it’s original course. Other neighborhoods were now being evacuated as more homes were being undercut by the torrential flow of water and debris. Volunteers from all over the valley were carting off any possessions they could safely get their hands on and taking it to higher ground. Work continued after the sun went down. With the power out, car lights were focused on each house as workers made their way through darkened homes in order to save family pictures, grandma’s china and other precious odds and ends. Shortly after the fire department deemed the house unstable and the workers evacuated, a loud crack would echo through the air and the house would completely disappear into the dark mouth of the mighty Santa Clara. No one could believe their eyes. Where did this come from? How can something as important as a home be here one minute and gone the next? This just didn’t make sense.
At one point in the afternoon, I ran to the store to get supplies for the neighbors before the bridges washed out. Diapers, water, batteries, and other essentials were on my list. As I ran into the store, heart racing and mind focused on protecting the families in my neighborhood, I was shocked to see a store full of people doing their weekly shopping, looking at greeting cards, and browsing the candy aisle. It was like walking into an alternate universe! How could I be in such a panic, knowing that my neighbors were losing their homes, while others didn’t seem to have a clue what was happening only a few miles away? It was a surreal feeling to say the least.
I have felt a similarly surreal feeling over the past few weeks since the Supreme Court changed the definition of marriage. I feel a great desire to gather my family and work with my neighbors to protect our homes from a different kind of flood. But as I look around, I find that so many others see no danger and feel no desire to head to higher ground. It is a lonely feeling, but I have felt a great closeness with friends and family members who recognize the storms that are raging all around us. I have found comfort in their words, they have strengthened my feeble knees and have given me courage to head to the safety of our one and only True Foundation.
It doesn’t matter what our individual trials look like, if family and friends gather together, work together, pray together, and serve each other, we can find peace. One of my fondest memories is from the night of our terrible flood. All of the neighborhood moms and children gathered into my neighbor’s home, the goal was to calm the fears of the children. The power was still off, but we were able to light the room with our flashlights and laughter. Games were played, sandwiches made, songs were sung, and hugs were shared. It was the most lovely feeling. We were protected, loved and watched over by angels on this side of the veil and from the other side. As we gathered the children to pray on the food, we asked the Lord to watch over the fathers who were working hard to save other homes, we prayed for the families who were being afflicted and we gave thanks for protecting the lives of our loved ones. The powerful feeling of that night still fills my heart with peace.
I believe it is time to start gathering in family, friends and neighbors again. We cannot wade through the torrents of attacks on home and family alone. There will be times when we need a shoulder and testimony to lean on. Now is not the time to hide our voices or dim our lights! We find great peace as we help strengthen others and as we create a safe place for our children to be. Open your Christ-filled homes and hearts to others who seek peace, don’t hold back the life-saving truths of the gospel that will serve as a life-line to someone who is struggling. Just do it now!!! There really is no time to waste.