Back in ’93, we had what was called a “thousand year flood.” Saint Joseph, along with pretty much all of the upper Midwest and the Missouri, Ohio and Mississippi River basins, saw water levels that were unprecedented. Devastation was widespread as homes, businesses and even entire towns were basically destroyed by the black roiling waters. According to the local TV forecast this morning, the Missouri River at Saint Joseph is expected to crest at “its highest level since the Flood of ’93.”
The good news is that the highest level since ’93 is still several feet lower than ’93. The bad news is that for some people, that will still not be low enough. Along the lower areas of the flood plain, families are preparing once again for evacuation.
Naturally, some of us hill dwellers don’t understand why these people go through this again and again. “Why don’t they just move out?” we ask one another, with blended tones of perplexity and criticism. Part of it is pure economics, I suspect. There is a rather pronounced disadvantage in selling flood plain property and purchasing out-of-the-flood-plain property. Selling cheap and buying high seldom results in monetary advantage.
Another reason is the determination angle; some folks just aren’t going to let a river run them off from their home place. And, that last little bit is another reason: home place.
It’s the years of living and belonging, of knowing folks, of having shared some of the worst and best that life can send your way. It’s memories of the kids playing in the driveway and building the room onto the back of the house, and cookouts and picnics and the time the neighbor got sick and everyone pitched in to fix his roof. In other words, it’s pretty much all the same things that make any of us grow attached to a certain place, regardless of how the rest of the world views it. And once the notion of “home” is fully formed in us, it can be awfully difficult to pry us away from it.
And that, my friends, is why it’s so important for believers to remember that this world is not their home.