The Floodwaters Subside

The Floodwaters Subside

I, like many Americans, am just stunned looking at the images that are coming from the floods at Texas. It’s just… incredibly scary some of the images that are coming out. And to read tweets from people who are stranded in or on top of their homes with their families? That’s just hard.

Yes, I knew that Texas was particularly susceptible to flooding. I mean, I used to write blog content for insurance companies reminding Texan residents to get flood insurance! But writing about why people should get insurance is a lot different from witnessing the photos that showcase the massive levels of destruction and hearing from those who are trapped.

Since flooding is on my mind, I figured that it might be appropriate to feature an art about the floodwaters subsiding. After all, as scary as floods are, they eventually subside — thanks be to God.

The Subsiding of the Waters of the Deluge, by Thomas Cole, c. 1829. Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington D.C., United States.

It’s a haunting picture that uses the theme of running water to emphasize the destruction. There is the main waterfall, of course, featured at the left of the painting which is too high to be in the painting. There’s water coming from the top of the cave, coming out as a drizzle. Then there’s the waterfall in the middle of the painting, dumping more water to the main sea. And finally, there’s the water that starts falling as it passes the skull, as if the water is dripping off the canvas.

It’s as if the whole painting is crying.

In the forefront of the painting, it looks dismal. Wreckage is everywhere. Trees are twisted and thrown about haphazardly. A skull at the bottom of the painting cries out for the human life that was lost. Most of the land has been washed away and only bare rock seems to be there. And, even though the flood is subsiding, water is still everywhere.

Even if people have survived this massive flood, it seems unlikely that they’ll be able to tame this land of bare rock into anything workable. Everything that has been built up has been destroyed.

Yet… there is still hope.

In the background near the rosy sky, Noah’s ark sails on. And, coming from that ark, a dove flies out. Soon, it’ll come back with a sprig of greenery, which will give Noah and his family hope that the flood will soon end. And then, even after all that destruction, they’ll start living once more, and we will be their descendants.

Detail of the dove and the ark.

Anyway. Seeing Texas inudated — literally — like this is making my heart ache. I know the joke is that everything is bigger in Texas, but seeing how gigantic this storm has turned out in such a brief amount of time is just gut-wrenching. My prayers are with you! And here’s hoping that the recovery efforts, just like the storm, turn out to be more gigantic than imagined and that Texas continues to kick butt — just as it always has.

Dear Jesus,

Help the victims of storms find healing and safety in the midst of danger.

Amen.

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