See for yourself.

on May 10, 2010 in Nash-livin' with 16 comments by

I could tell you about the piles of personal items out on the streets.

Or I could tell you about the sore muscles from ripping out cabinets, walls, insulation, and every other thing in a water soaked home.

I could tell you how I teared up as I cleaned out Terry’s linen closet, as he apologized for the mess. I could tell you how I was embarrassed for him as strangers emptied his bathroom cabinets and took every private item into the public front yard.

I could tell you that I have never seen anything like this. Bellevue, a suburb of Nashville, looks like a third world country. No home was spared from the rushing Harpeth River. I could tell you about the smell. About the devastation. About the fact that this broken community has a long way to go to recover from this disaster.

But you can see for yourself.

What you can’t see? The spirit of the people. The massive amount of volunteers moving from house to house, following the bright yellow “VOLUNTEERS NEEDED HERE” signs.

You can’t see our hearts breaking and being restored in the same instant. You can’t see the devastation and remain unaffected. But you also can’t see my neighbors serving each other and not be strengthened.

You can’t see the stories. You can’t see the moments when everyone in the home stands still and listens to the owner tell of the days before the flood, not because it matters, but because it heals.

You can’t see the piles of laundry or the piles of dishes because when the Nashville government asked us to conserve water, people actually DID IT. And we avoided a water crisis because everyone actually conserved water.

I hope your community NEVER has to endure something like this. No, it is no where nearly as massive as Hurricane Katrina, but it is painful none the less. It is loss. It is heartbreaking. It is life-changing.

But in some ways, I’m grateful. We would not know the heart of Nashville if we wouldn’t have seen it for ourselves.

– – – – – – – – – – –

What can you do to help Nashville?

Pray for us.

Donate to help flood victims. [Or get some swag– very cool.]

Come visit- either to volunteer [Mission Trip Summer 2010 anybody?] or just to hang out. [We can meet up at Frothy Monkey– you know I love that place.]


  1. posted on May 10, 2010 at 6:43 AM  |  reply

    My heart breaks for those who lost so much in the flood. Thank you for being Christ to those who need help.

  2. ali
    posted on May 10, 2010 at 7:02 AM  |  reply

    Oh my, Wow.


  3. posted on May 10, 2010 at 7:59 AM  |  reply

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Bizzy Backson and CrystalLaineMiller, Annie Downs. Annie Downs said: See for yourself. #nashvilleflood […]

  4. posted on May 10, 2010 at 8:02 AM  |  reply

    Oh Annie…we heard about this on the Compassion trip and I’ve been thinking about you!!!

    My heart aches for you guys….

    Much love and prayers!!!

  5. posted on May 10, 2010 at 9:16 AM  |  reply

    Thank you for sharing the reality and the hope that is Nashville right now. Prayers and hugs!

  6. posted on May 10, 2010 at 9:52 AM  |  reply

    Well done! I was just there this morning trying to share some supplies.

  7. Angie
    posted on May 10, 2010 at 9:54 AM  |  reply

    SO sad, I cannot imagine!

  8. posted on May 10, 2010 at 10:43 AM  |  reply

    Annie- this is amazing. You have written exactly what I’ve been thinking. I was out helping this weekend and was caught in a really weird place of wanting to cry for my city but then smile from ear to ear after working side by side with strangers for hours. Thank you for this post!

  9. posted on May 10, 2010 at 12:33 PM  |  reply

    So sorry to hear about your community. My Dad lost everything in the South GA floods of ’94. Funny, it was the day I got married. Most of my family could not come because they were trapped. My Dad didn’t even have shoes because they were many feet (no pun intended) under water. I remember the smell, the trash, the devistation as if it were yesterday. But, then I saw strangers helping neighbors, the Red Cross bringing food and water and hope. They have since rebuilt, but 15 yrs later you can still go back and the traces of the devistation. And just last fall we had flooding where I live. Entire schools, churches and homes were under water. It’s amazing how much damage water can do. Sending prayers your way.

  10. posted on May 10, 2010 at 4:31 PM  |  reply

    Bellevue was our home for three years, and it’s where we birthed and buried our second child. While we have found hope – the supernatural kind – in the midst of shattered dreams, I am praying that our neighbors will find the same. Hope. As Philip Yancey says, it’s believing in advance what will only make sense in reverse. Praying this becomes clearer to all of us. Thank you for personally loving (and working!) on those we are too far to reach. Hoping, Karen

  11. posted on May 10, 2010 at 6:09 PM  |  reply

    I am so sorry. But I am thankful Nashville is coming together in unity to get through this tragedy. Praying for you all!

  12. posted on May 10, 2010 at 8:38 PM  |  reply

    […] the efforts of our city and the power that the words “We are Nashville” have had.  Annie reminded us that what we can’t see in pictures on the news is the spirit of this town and its […]

  13. posted on May 10, 2010 at 10:39 PM  |  reply

    Exactly. Thank you for posting this. I was out there Saturday, too. But I haven’t had the words to describe it. You got it…right down to the sore muscles! I’ve decided that ripping out drywall may be more effective than going to the gym 🙂

  14. posted on May 10, 2010 at 11:35 PM  |  reply

    I am definitely praying for you and all the people there. I got home from visiting Nashville less than a week before the flood and it was heartbreaking to know that the places I walked were under water. I will admit to being a person who loves “things” and have a hard time parting with ANY scrap of paper that has some sort of sentimental value, so I cannot begin to fathom what it’s like to have all those things gone in a flash. I am amazed by the strength, perspective, and the community of the people there.

    I have gone to the Cross Point Church flood fund page multiple times praying about what I am “supposed” to do. My hours have been cut at work and I’m struggling with the fact that sending a check isn’t a “no brainer”, but am continuing to pray about my role in this. I’d love to come help (or hang out…I DID look for you when I was there, but that’s when you went to NYC…darn!)

    The images are hard to look at, even when it isn’t nearly as “close to home” for me, so I can’t imagine what it was like helping people that you know and love who lost everything.

    I ? Nashville’s heart.

  15. posted on May 10, 2010 at 11:36 PM  |  reply

    um, that was supposed to be a “heart” not a question mark… “I “heart” Nashville’s heart”, not question it…oops.

  16. posted on May 13, 2010 at 9:26 PM  |  reply

    My BFF is in Nash… Says it’s astounding. Unimaginable.

    I’m not there and can’t even wrap my mind around it. I can’t imagine what it’s like for the locals…

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