Thursday 24 November 2005, 3:30 pm

Imagine ...

Imagine that your house has been damaged and that you need to work on it to fix it. Now imagine that you have no place to live while working on your house, or that you have only a trailer for a family of five. Imagine that you've had no running water for a couple of months while trying to repair your house. Imagine that you have to tear out the sheetrock from the inside of your house, but when your house was damaged, all your power tools were lost or damaged, including a nice saw and a drill, but you are left only with a small hammer and a crowbar.

Now imagine that the tools and supplies you need are double the price they were a few weeks ago, unless you are able to go to a neighboring state like Alabama where prices are normal. Imagine that you have no job and you have to spend an hour in line at the food bank only to find out that the specific item you need is in short supply and ran out earlier in the day. Imagine that all your mementoes like photographs have been destroyed. Imagine that you get up every morning and try to find the energy to clean it up a little more. Imagine depression like you've never experienced in your life.

Give up yet? Well, that is the life these people have been living for the last 12 weeks. Any kind of electical equipment like stoves, washing machines, power tools, and computers is inoperable. The salt water left most vehicles still running but not for very long. Wet homes have to have drywall removed up to the water line, then the entire interior washed and treated to destroy and prevent mold. Sheetrock must be replaced, then floors, then carpet, then appliances.

I talked to lots of people on Monday and Wednesday. Their stories are sad but their will is strong. Many know Jesus and know they will find their way out of this mess. Some see the entire flood and "mucking" phenomenon as a grand metaphor for the way God cleans up our lives.

We're tired today ... I'll stop now and let you contemplate the things you are thankful for. If nothing else, be thankful you're not here.