While we were extremely lucky to have no damage to our home, many thousands of other families all around Texas and Louisiana (and I fear even in more states the way Harvey is going) cannot say the same. They’re waking up in shelters, at the homes of friends and family, and some aren’t waking up at all. To say that we’re grateful would be the grossest understatement I could make. Jon and I have been glued to the TV watching the news for a week now. We keep seeing images of horror, destruction, and despair. BUT mixed into all those awful things is the best thing Harvey has brought: compassion.
I hope you’ve seen the countless stories of people driving hundreds of miles to come to the aide of Harvey’s victims. People within the flood zone whose own homes have been destroyed put aside their personal loss and still went out to volunteer or show up for work (police, fire, etc.). Jon and I are doing what little we can: donating clothes, hot food, snacks, toiletries, our time. It still doesn’t compare to the unbelievable show that so many have shown. And not just Texans or Americans but all over the world.
At a time when the world needed it most, we all came together to rescue and now to rebuild in the aftermath of a monster. My hope and my prayer is that we would remember these images, these stories of self-sacrifice and love. I hope we remember these things the second we start getting into the slimy discussions of politics. I hope we remember these things when hate groups start making their claims that Harvey’s destruction is a result of THIS or THAT. Blame has no place here.
I hope that we remember there’s so much more that’s important to our lives than hatred and prejudice. Life is too damn short. If that hasn’t sunk in with you, and you still find yourself looking at someone and judging them based on their skin color, religious affiliation, or sexual orientation, check yourself. I want you to imagine in those moments the thought of an 18-month-old baby clinging for life to his dead mother’s body. I want you to imagine in those moments a family of 6 trapped in the back of their family van screaming for help as they drown. Then you tell me that your bullshit prejudices matter. If Harvey has taught us anything, it’s that nature doesn’t discriminate. Wouldn’t you think that tells us something? Think about that…
This fallen HPD officer drowned after trying to report for duty. He drove for over 2 1/2 hours trying to get to work in order to help those in need. His wife begged him not to go to work, but he said, “I’ve got work to do.”
Okay – I’ll stop my ranting now and tell a little bit of Harvey from our perspective. Like I said, we were glued to the news watching the destruction of the category 4 Hurricane Harvey, to Tropical Storm Harvey, to the dozens of tornadoes in our area, to the flooding, to the looting (very close to our own home), and other awful things. We would cry out of helplessness at the thought of others going through such terrible things while we sat in our air conditioned home, eating hot food, surrounded by a safe, dry house. Our neighborhood is basically an island. We had a ton of flooding and things surrounding our area, but we all remained completely safe.
Many of our shopping centers were flooded, our grocery store is pretty bare and scarce, but we’re so lucky compared to so many others. I think I’ve got a little survivor’s guilt to be honest. (Images were posted to our neighborhood Facebook page.)
The exit we take to get to the stores we visit:
Our grocery store parking lot:
The road we use to get out of our neighborhood:
We were supposed to fly to Chicago Friday (tomorrow) for a family reunion. We were going to fly Southwest out of Hobby, but decided to stay put considering everything that’s happened.
The Hobby Airport Runway:
View from our backyard – we think this retention pond rose to about 15 feet above normal.
We decided to take precautions and moved all our valuables to our second story. That was tough enough – trying to make sure I got every piece of my dad and brother to safety because it might flood. It was like trying to save their lives + memories. Just the fear that it all could be lost was enough. Imagine all those people who’ve actually lost all of those things.
(pic is of Jimmy and Daddy’s books – some of the most precious things to me)
If you’re looking for a way to help, please click here to see the many lists of ways to donate. Let’s please keep up the prayers, donations, and spirit of good will for many months and years to come. This recovery process will be grueling and draining in so many ways, but I’m encouraged by the beautiful displays of generosity so far.