The Flood Waters have assaulted Nebraska and nature has won. Recently I have been hearing and seeing the phrase; “Nebraska Strong”. Yes we are, but no matter how strong we believe we are, Nature just told us to move over, because here she comes.
No matter how high our levees were, no matter how powerful our dams were, no matter how well built our bridges were, the water, the ice, the wind, rain and snow combined to hit us hard, very hard. Nature won! That doesn’t mean we are losers because we have lost property, livestock, livelihood and yes even loved ones. If “Nebraska Strong” means we are not losers, then I whole heartedly agree.
We are strong not because we resisted and defeated nature, we are strong because we love and care for our neighbor. We are strong because we come together to help one another, not strong alone, but together, in helping one another stand when we have been knocked down!
If the rest of the nation looks at us, I want them to see our strong sense of community, care, compassion, faith, and love. I don’t want them to think we have resisted the flood and it has won. We have stood our ground and conquered the flood waters. Mother Nature kicked our butt.
We are strong, because God has made us so, to use the most important gifts of our power as human beings. The gift of an arm around the shoulder of our neighbor who watches their house float away in the river, even as our home sinks into the riverbed. We are strong as we help save the livestock of our neighbor, even as we wonder about our future will be after nature’s fury. We are strong, when we open our houses of worship, our homes, our schools to the displaced, telling them to stay as long as they need.
God has made us who we are and we happen to live in Nebraska, the flyover state, where it took national news media outlets a week to realize the impact of these terrible waters. But now they know us, a people who are strong not in defeating the forces of nature, but in resisting the temptation to just save ourselves. They see rural and city folks reaching out to one another, being there for one another and sharing what they have to help one another.
We are strong because we pushed through the barriers that divide us and saw our common humanity, the needs of each other, asking how can we help? There are way too many stereotypes of what the people are like here in Nebraska. I hope if anything, they see our strong love for community and neighbor, the strength of our character and compassion, the steel of our determination not to ignore those in need but to be the people of God here in Nebraska. Thank God, God made us so!