Sifting thru the underwear drawer of a woman I’ve never met

By now you’ve all (hopefully) heard about the flooding that occurred here in the Nashville area last weekend. My family and I are fine, thankfully. Many, however, are not.

Today I got a call from a friend from church.  She was with a group doing cleanup in an area of west Nashville called Bellevue.  They were working at the home of a woman whose home was flooded and she wanted to know if I could wash some flood soaked clothes.  Of course I said, anything to help. 

Her son in law dropped the trash bags at my house.  They were full…and heavy…and waterlogged.  They smelled of wet and mildew and mud and a week’s worth of 80+ degree weather. I Googled the words “Flood damaged clothing” and found a slew of information about how to care for these articles.  Then, I set about the task of sorting the bags. As I sifted thru her most personal items, I kept asking myself: Who is this woman and what can I learn about her?

The first bag must have come out of her top dresser drawer.  It was full of socks, pantyhose, and other unmentionables. She appears to be about my size. The second bag was full of sweaters (some with the tag still on them), shirts, gloves, and shorts.  I could tell by the 4 mud crusted lanyards and various T-Shirts that she is a Tennessee Titans fan, just like me. There was one set from the inaugural game back in 2006.  My husband and I were at that same game with our two sons.  One lanyard had a pink ribbon pinned to it and I wondered if she was a breast cancer survivor.

I could not help but pray for her as I sifted thru the things that must be most personal to her. All the trappings of an everyday, ordinary woman. Just…like…me.

My washer is running and the smell of Lysol permeates the downstairs of our home. Flood soaked and mildewed clothing sits neatly sorted into piles on the sidewalk outside of the front door.  My hands smell of latex and rubber from the gloves I must wear so as not to get contaminated water on my skin.

I’m not out there ripping out drywall, subfloors, and such. MANY volunteers are helping with that. Two back surgeries prevent me from participating in those kinds of things. What I CAN do, however, is help bring some semblance of normal back to a woman I’ve never met…starting right there in her underwear drawer. 

To read more about the flood or to donate time and/or money to flood victims, please visit Hands on Nashville.


5 Responses to “Sifting thru the underwear drawer of a woman I’ve never met”

  1. Sandy says:

    Beth, I am proud to call you my cousin. We do the things we do just because. Thank you.

  2. Allison Crow says:

    Wow….tears are streaming down my face…and I don’t know what else to say except I’m overwhelmed…by the loss…and by the compassion.

  3. Cyndi Carfrey says:

    Beth thanks so much for what you do….and for sharing your stories with us and keeping this tragedy human! You are gathering jewels for your crown in Heaven.

  4. Kristin Cruz says:

    Your heart is so full of love and service in all you do and reading this I am not surprised by your love and compassion – that love and compassion shines through all you do!

  5. admin says:

    Update: I had a call from the lady today. Her name is Susana. She has rebuilt her home and is slowly replacing her things. She called to say thank you and it was the biggest blessing of my day.

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