In First Grade catechism, when learning about Noah’s ark, we were taught that after Noah made land and gave thanks, God created the rainbow as a sign; a promise that he would never destroy the world again with a flood.
Not to be overly dramatic about it, but it seems that the Lord, unlike most politicians, is someone you can count on to keep his word. In a very personal sense, Yahweh saw fit to spare my home the ravages of the worst flooding in these parts in 50 years.
It began Friday night when the police showed up at our door along with a member of Algonquin’s Fire Department. They patiently explained that in a matter of hours our house would have 4 feet of water in the living room and it would be best if we packed up and left.
After a few hours of panicked packing and a frantic call to Sue’s son in Ohio asking him to bring his truck, we were fully prepared to leave Illinois behind us and move out to Ohio – secure in the knowledge that our house was toast and that our lives were about to be turned upside down.
But something funny happened on the way to Armageddon. The unbroken line of thunderstorms stretching back hundreds of miles into Iowa suddenly and inexplicably began to miss us. Then, the drenching rains predicted on the heels of those storms – rains that had caused flooding to the west – dissipated in dawn’s early light. Instead of the predicted three inches of rainfall over a matter of hours, all we got was a desultory drizzle.
Saturday morning, the clouds broke. The sun came out. My world was still intact although there was danger as the river kept rising. All day long we were on tenterhooks as the water in our backyard inched toward the house.
To shorten the story, suffice it to say that while taking water in the crawl space underneath the house, the rest of our home was spared. We still have a flooded backyard, but the river has stopped rising – far below its predicted crest – and it appears that barring unforeseen circumstances, we are safe for the time being. More storms are expected Wednesday so it appears that once again we will be on the knife’s edge of disaster. But the river will be down a few inches by that time and as long as we don’t get a real drenching, we should be alright.
Any life lessons to be drawn from the ordeal? If you haven’t learned by the time you’re 50 years old that life can be cruel, capricious, randomly sadistic, and grossly unfair as well as being a joyous celebration of the ability of the human animal to adapt and endure, then there is little hope you will ever begin to understand yourself. As far as being tested, this incident hardly even rates as a pop quiz. But that doesn’t lessen the feeling I get of being a poster boy for that Chinese proverb:
“May you live in interesting times.”