Friday, May 7, 2010

We Are Nashville

(photo courtesy of Hands on Nashville)

As some of you might know, Nashville and the surrounding area has suffered unprecedented flooding. All kinds of areas were affected, from tony white suburbs to poor, predominantly African-American neighborhoods. Since Monday, I have seen horrific picture after horrific picture and heard tragic story after tragic story. As I drove into town today to volunteer, the sight of the skyline rising triumphantly above the Cumberland brought tears to my eyes.

Even though I've only lived here for two years, I am immensely proud to call Nashville my home. To see the response of my friends and neighbors, known and unknown, is incredible. Jake Owen helped serve lunch to flood victims and volunteers. Taylor Swift donated $500,000 to the telethon. But there's also all of the other people who volunteered with me today at the Disaster Information Center, the ones collecting gift cards, diapers, and underwear, the ones who are gathering around their friends and family members who have lost everything. Nearly every other post on my Facebook is about people going to volunteer or notifying people how they can help or otherwise reminding everyone that we are all in this together.

And while those muddy waters were rising, the local media and alternative media outlets kept everyone abreast of the situation. Firemen and the police worked overtime to serve this community. Volunteers with boats help rescue people who were stranded, and our mayor and governor made responsible and wise decisions. The picture above is of volunteers who, alongside inmates, were sandbagging to save our last remaining water treatment plant.

The church where I just finished up my field education internship was destroyed by a tornado in 1998. Outside there's a sign with a quote from the rector at the time, Lisa Hunt, that says, "God was not in the tornado. God was in our response to the tornado." God has been in Nashvillians' response to the flood. Even Anderson Cooper said, "I've never seen a community pull together so quickly to respond to a disaster." Anderson, that's just how we roll. We are Nashville. We are a community of talented, caring, creative people. We are Nashville, and we are all blessed to live here.