We are finally on the other side of the Great Tennessee Flood. Our home is high and dry but many of our friend’s homes were substantially damaged and some lost everything.
Diane and I went for a twenty mile bike ride yesterday to survey the damage. The entire valley we usually ride had been covered with water. As we rode we were reminded of what makes America great and what will keep America great.
Resourceful people with stubborn resolve.
Everywhere we went we saw neighbors helping each other meet this disaster head on. They were using creativity and muscle to salvage what they could and to keep their families safe. We saw people who had tractors and shovels and chainsaws making impassible roads passable. People with boats were rescuing strangers who had been caught by the rising water. They were doing all this before the government lifted a finger.
I am not criticizing the government. In this difficult time the government of Tennessee did a great job as fast as they could. What I am doing is I am praising the kind of people who see what needs to be done and are willing to do the work to “get er done!”
Friends who just returned from Haiti reported seeing the same kind of resolve and resourcefulness there. Millions of dollars that were given to aid organizations still have not yet reached the people who need it to provide the most basic needs. That money is still creeping through bureaucratic channels where shameful amounts are siphoned off to line the pockets of the greedy.
In the midst of this, small churches and non-government organizations have sprung into action accepting much smaller donations but getting food and shelter and help directly to the people.
They have passionate resolve to “get er done” and the creative resourcefulness to make things happen.
Two weeks ago I was with a group of men who were Prisoners of War just like my father. For over three years they survived unthinkable conditions, disease, torture, starvation, and mental cruelty. Their plight was unsurvivable, but they DID SURVIVE.
Each of their stories included unbelievable resourcefulness, and stubborn resolve. Sometimes their resolve was born of faith in God and sometimes it was just plain stubbornness. They had been abandoned. Their government was struggling to survive on other fronts of battle. They were alone. They learned what they had to do to survive and resolved to “get er done.”
I met a man yesterday using his tractor to haul dirt to rebuild the county road that ran in front of his home. He did not want me to take his picture because he had not “gone through the proper channels” to get er done” and was afraid he might get in trouble. I saw him today standing beside his temporarily repaired road. Dozens of cars went by as we talked. If he had gone through the proper channels, if he had stood beside the road with his hand out, waiting for the government to come, there would be a lot of people walking and wading instead of getting on with their lives.
This is the spirit that has made America the great country that it is today. When I need help with my family or home, these are the kind of people I will seek out.
This is the kind of person I want to be.
“Get er done”