Once again a fellowship assembles, a fellowship of those thrown together by circumstance, but heroic nevertheless.
In a blog post from 2011, I called that fellowship 'The Fellowship of the Flood'. It's a club that you don't ever want to join. Membership is automatic when you have experienced a flood.
The fellowship is millions strong, and growing.
But, for those who are members of the Fellowship, you know that the experience of being in a flood never leaves you completely.
There are two groups of people you can talk to about your flood experiences.
Those who know.
And those who can't imagine.
I belong to several blogging support groups. Some of their members are directly in this event. My heart goes out to you all.
I can't imagine what their area is going through, because I know just enough (from personal experience) to know that I can't imagine what they are going through. My flood was not their flood. Photos don't do a disaster of this magnitude much justice, anymore than a photo can express what it is like to experience a total eclipse of the sun.
That's the first thing to admit. You DON'T know what those in Texas, or Louisiana, or Mumbai (yes, India is going through this at the same time we are) are going through, unless you are there.
In September of 2011, after widespread flooding impacted many areas of my state, New York, I find (going through those posts) of my feeling of gratitude. That may or may not surprise you.
It is hard to tell people how to support others who are going through a disaster of this magnitude, but just being there to listen is important.
There are some of the things you should know to do if you go through a flood.
There are the strange things, the sad things, the terrible things, you see. Those sights never leave you. Trust me on that.
Right now, I suspect it's the everyday things people in the flood zones need. Clean drinking water. A place to wash their clothes.
Oh, how I missed having a place to wash my clothes.
I missed a place to feel human again.
What they don't need are flood tourists. If you aren't a trained helper, or belong to an organization that knows what they are doing, you will do those people a favor by staying home.
Meanwhile, those flooded look around and see life going on, and wonder when their lives will get better. You must know it will be a long process.
You may find you need professional help to move on. You should not hesitate to seek it. Even a year later. Even more than that later. It's not weakness.
For those not affected physically but want to help, this is my advice - be very careful, if you are moved to give for flood relief. Be careful who you give to. So many scammers out there.
I also fear, in a way I haven't before, that we may temporarily draw together in the aftermath of this disaster, but before we know it, we in the United States will be at each other's throats again.
With our changing climate, we must learn how to live with floods.
Floods or no floods, we must learn to live with ourselves and our differences.