When I see something in the news about a tsunami in faraway lands, I have compassion for the victims, but the victims are strangers to me and I have never been to those places.
When there is a natural disaster, such as tornadoes in the Midwest or hurricanes on the Gulf Coast, or wildfires in the West, I can relate better. The victims are Americans, like me. Maybe I have been to the location of the disaster. Maybe I have friends or family in the area.
But enough about people I don’t know. Now let’s talk about me, me, me.
Now the news is showing the clean-up from the flooding in northern Colorado. This is my neighborhood. I have been on those roads now destroyed, like Highway 34 up the Big Thompson Canyon to Estes Park. I can’t get to Estes now. I love going to Estes Park. It is a beautiful little tourist town in the mountains, the gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park. We camped there this summer. My wife did an art show there in June. We have been to the stores shown on the news as being flooded. We live in the very same county.
We have family members in Boulder and Longmont. They were not harmed, yet we worried until we learned that.
I called a lawyer friend last week to see how he was doing because he lives in an area that is a mountain valley. Last summer, his family was evacuated during the High Park fire. This year his family was not evacuated, but his home was damaged by some of the flooding. Still, they stayed. The road to his house is not a priority in the rebuilding efforts. He was told that it might not be repaired for a year. In the meantime, he literally has to use a ladder to cross a washed out section of the road that is now an open crevice in order to get to a car he parks on the road. He has to hike quite a ways to get to that car. For a year?
We have been to his home. It is in a lovely setting. I understand why they moved there. Now I have difficulty grasping how they can stay there, cut off from vehicle access.
There are many stories like that. Worse stories. True stories.
The people who lost everything in a tsunami can feel compassion for families like my friend’s, and probably do. Even so, Colorado is a faraway place to them.
I guess you had to be there.
It helps to remember that God, who knows when a sparrow falls from a tree, is here and was there with the people in the tsunamis, the hurricanes, the tornadoes, the wildfires, and the floods. For nothing can separate us from the love of God.