The flood of 2011 has changed the lives of many people in northwest North Dakota. People have evacuated their homes. Others welcomed those people into their homes. Some people sought shelter in their tents or at a Red Cross shelter.
What happens now? How long until it will all be over? So many questions; so few answers. So much to ponder as we watch this disaster turn to devastation.
It's not so much what happens now or how long it will last. The ultimate point to consider is how we will come through all of this. I believe each of us should consider this as an opportunity to grow stronger in ways other than physical strength.
We didn't cause the flood, we couldn't control it and we certainly can't change what happened. Belaboring the whys and ifs won't change anything and choosing to be bitter toward others won't alleviate what has happened either.
We can change some things though. We can focus on the three R's: rest, routine and relationships.
It's hard to accept the necessity of rest. There's so much to do and wanting normality is certainly a valid point. There's a rush to get back into homes, if it is possible, and a rush to find a place to live if homes are declared unlivable.
People who have guests in their homes may be going "beyond normal" to accommodate their guests. That is normal. We want to help others; we want to be there for them.
Rest is necessary at all times, especially now during these stressful times. It should be a part of the daily routine. When I don't get appropriate rest, I find myself more stressed. I am certain I am not alone.
Getting up at the same time and continuing on with a regular schedule may be difficult. It's important to find a workable schedule for everyone in each home. Agreeing on a favorite TV show may be a bit difficult. How important is it to watch that particular show? How about playing cards or a game of Rummikub, Sorry or checkers? Certainly there has to be time for fun, even when there's stress. A picnic and games in any of the smaller parks would be a great way to escape from reality for a few hours. The need for some "alone time" also needs to be respected.
Relationships. I've saved the longest of the three R words for last. Recognize we are not alone in this battle. Family, friends and co-workers have all been affected one way or the other, yet without each other where would we be? We need to lean on each other during these times, but most of all we remember Matthew's words in the Bible, "Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28)
The Lord has been at my side during many difficult times and he has carried me through many deep waters. I believe he will do the same for you. Trust in him.
(Loretta Johnson is Religion Editor at The Minot Daily News.)