By Emily Stonehouse
As I watch the waters continue to rise on the day that the township declared an official flood watch in effect, I wonder what’s next.
These past few weeks have been heavy. As someone who experiences feelings in a big way, I have found them particularly weighted. When all those emotions are swirling around, it’s challenging not to absorb them.
And as the waters have risen, so have those emotions.
Anger. Frustration. Fear.
With the world at our fingertips, some of these ideas buzz like bees hungry for the first pollen of spring.
And then they grow. One person feels anger, so they put it out into the world; a little metaphorical parcel jam-packed with emotions, ready for the next person to pick up, open, and add their own anger to – all before shipping it out into the world again. And on. And on. And on.
People have asked me what my stance is on the emergency room closure. As a Minden local with young children and aging parents, the closure impacts me personally.
It will change the nature of our community in more ways than most could articulate right now.
But as a reporter, I have heard every single side of this story. I have been briefed on the “whys”, approached for the rallies, and paid attention to the reasons; for any and all sides.
Through it all, I have listened. Absorbing the information like a sponge; sometimes to the point that my mind feels over-saturated; dragged down with the weight of the wordy water that’s soaking through my brain.
I have been called out for not having a stance. For not taking a side. For not standing up for whatever my beliefs may be.
But I have listened. I have looked. And I will continue to learn. There’s no place for a stance if all stories are still being shared. And in my mind, people are still telling their stories. And I still have more to listen, to look at, and to learn. We’re in the middle here. Not the end.
Though I am maintaining a position of learned-neutrality at this time, I will advise readers to be mindful of where their content is coming from. The context, the cause, the core.
Because it’s not always black and white. It’s not always clear-cut. It’s not always wagging fingers because we don’t know where to point the anger, the frustration, the fear.
And it’s never easy.
As I watch the waters rise, I am reminded of the time I lived on the Gull River in 2019.
I was working for the township at the time, and was bumped into the role of emergency communications officer while the river swelled and poured over its softened edges.
One day, I came home after a long shift, and saw that my home had been sand-bagged. I don’t know who did it, or why they thought I was worthy, but it was done for me. For my home. For our Minden.
Packing up that parcel of anger and hand-delivering it to someone may feel satisfying in the moment, but sending a sandbag to a stranger will get us all a lot further.
As those waters continue to rise.