There are few times in life that the emotions become too much and there are no words to describe the tornado of feelings swirling in your body. Today is one of those days. I have lived in Cedar Rapids my whole life. I have memories of going to see the flood water rising downtown in 1993 when I was in middle school. I remember being pregnant in 2008 when the waters reached all time highs and I felt helpless. I have lived through this before, as most of us have, but for some reason, this time is hitting me in a different way.
This is the community I have chosen to continue to make my home. To raise my children in, to buy a home in, to settle into. And it is happening again. Again, we are under siege from an enemy we cannot hate or retaliate against. This time, I presume, it is different for a lot of us. It is true that this time, we had more time to prepare. We had more time to think. More time to choose how we react. Our community could either choose to prepare as best we could and work together, or to charge hate against a terror we cannot continue to loathe.
Walking around a desolate Czech Village and NewBo area that was preparing for the impending fight with boarded up windows and sandbags surrounding the foundations, memories came flooding back to me of getting treats and meats from the Village. Of talking to store owners with my great grandmother, my grandmother and my mother. It connects with a deep part of who I am. My heritage and identity, my history. This is part of all of our heritage and identity. Part of our home, of who we are. There is sadness. And there is anger. And most of all, there is confusion.
But, through all the anger, and the fear, and the worry, I hope we all feel pride. And love, and support. And I hope we all feel the difference of the choices our community made. We chose to come together, to work to make us all stronger together. Our connections extended beyond our borders and beyond the water fronts. They exploded like tears from our eyes and the feeling of family has been palpable. People have worked together to save us all, not just to help physically defend against the water, but to defend against how defeated we felt 8 years ago. To show ourselves what we are made of. We are stronger…we are emotional…we are courageous…we are kind…we are generous…we are CR. And we won’t be broken.