I started writing this on Tuesday after the floods, but for some reason just haven’t been able to concentrate enough to write anything substantial. I feel it’s necessary to finish this post before continuing. For me and the people I do life with all conversations right now are centred around this event, it doesn’t seem right to ignore it, in any forms of communication.
I regard Toowoomba as my hometown. I live 20 minutes outside the city itself. If you live in Toowoomba, I would nominate that place as my base, but to everyone outside the region, Toowoomba is my town. It is where I shop, work, fellowship, take my kids to the parks, playgroups, swimming lessons and all the other stuff kids do, visit my friends and generally just live life with friends and family.
I have been following the flood news over the last few weeks. Particularly Bundaberg. I lived in Bundy for over two years when I was a teen. My father still owns farms up there, so we often go up there for a week or so at a time several times a year. I’m very familiar with the place, so when I saw all the footage of the floods there it was mind boggling. We were actually all set – I had my bags packed and everything – to go up to Bundy over New Year until we realised that the roads were all closing, so we abandoned our plans. The next day the flooding started.
Nothing prepared me for the shock of seeing my own town’s flooding. There’s something surreal about seeing the place where you do life be so damaged. To see photos, note obscure background landmarks, and instantly know where it is. It can be quite numbing.
On Tuesday morning I rang a friend. The J Bomb went over to her house to play and then we were going to meet up in town for a play session at and indoor play centre. It was bucketing down all morning and just as I was about to leave when the The Baby went to sleep. At the time it seemed inconvenient, I rang my friend and we decided to abandon the town plan. It is just as well, because we would have been driving right in the areas where and when the flood hit worst. Now I am grateful that I did not firsthand witness the devastation or be caught up in it myself.
The ‘inland tsunami’ that swept through our town is an absolute freak of nature. The reason it has been so devastating is because unlike the flooding in other areas, there was no warning, no time to prepare, no time to seek safety. Toowoomba is 700m above sea level. We sit at the top of the Great Dividing Range. We do not have a river running through our town. The water that caused the immense devastation was flash flooding from little creeks, that for the last several years, while we have been plagued with drought, has mostly run dry.
The flash flooding ripped up cars and tossed them around like matchbox cars. It destroyed businesses and homes. Most tragically, it has destroyed and taken lives.
I am grateful that all that I know are safe and sound, be it with some damage to some peoples houses. Our church also has been flooded, but everyone working there at the time is safe. My heart goes out to the families and friends of those who have lost their life due to this terrible incident.
But the great Australian spirit of mateship and solidarity continues. People are working hard to repair and build our community. People are being generous and giving and supporting those around them. This will not defeat us.
It is my sincere prayer that God will continue to be with the people of Toowoomba and Queensland. That through our trials, His name will be glorified. I pray this will be a time where people learn to rest in the hands of the Almighty and that this event will a marker in their lives of a time where they could come to God and receive from Him.