New year in York

Due to unforseen circumstances, the weather in York, UK has been pretty dramatic. Our lovely flood meadows were no longer there, and a lake temporarily appeared instead. Several of the streets near our home were predicted to be flooded, however in reality this didn’t happen. The feeling of being on red alert was really odd, as in one way we knew it wouldn’t affect us, but in another we were drawn into the drama of it all and the fear of what would happen if the water did arrive in our street. We waited expectantly for the surge in water after the rainfall came down from the hills on the Monday after Christmas.

I know several charities and businesses locally have gone all out to help those affected, and many people will have lost everything. For us it was more of a phony war, although many people I know lost their phone/wifi and some of the supermarkets weren’t accepting cash, and ATMs weren’t working for a while. Unfortunately there were also some scams and looting which seems really unfair.

The big frustration was that the main part of the flooding was avoidable as the system became overloaded, the authorities had to make some difficult decisions, which could have been avoided if there was more national resource put into the back-up plans. However the feeling of being supported by a coordinated network of emergency services, and the number of public sector staff doing overtime over the Christmas bank holidays, was really amazing, and made us all feel proud to live in this country.

I guess for alot of us, major problems like this are not really that frequent and we’ve never lost our homes, or our possessions due to a war, or a bomb, and the older people I know who went through the floods in Selby in 2000, talked about it in the same way as a war- pre-flood and post-flood.

The main long-term impact will be in tourism, as York relies on visitors. The city is pretty much back to normal and welcoming people back.

It’s left me feeling that I’d like to be more involved in the front-line rather than donating money, or looking at plans and maps back at HQ, but I am aware of how comfortable a situation that is and how many people around me are relatively well off.

My new year’s resolution is therefore to get stuck in, and not worry about the consequences if there is something going on that I am in the right place, right time to personally help with. I guess if we all took the opportunities to make a real difference in a small way on a regular or even a random basis, and not just in a crisis, or via the internet, then the world would be a much better place.  A verse that came up today in church, from James 2:

“15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.”