For the last four or five days, I’ve had a close eye on Houston and the monster called Hurricane Harvey. I know that Harvey made landfall further down the coast and devastated the area there, including the towns of Rockport and Port Aransas. KB called Corpus Christi home for several years before he and I met and knows that area well. It’s beyond terrible, the pictures we’re seeing come out of there. I don’t mean to lessen the devastation or need there at all because it’s real and it’s huge and they are most likely going to get the short end of the assistance stick because of all of the attention Houston is getting. But, Houston hits me in my gut. Because it was home and I know so many people still there.
As I sit here watching the horrific images of Houston slowly being drowned, neighborhood by neighborhood, my heart is breaking. I called Houston-or the area-my home for a little over seven years. Along with all of the stuff I accumulated while there, I carried many memories with me when I left; some wonderful and some not so great, but all a part of the experience of living in the country’s fourth largest city. The friends we made while there are, by far, the best part of having lived there.
Some people have been extremely fortunate in that while the water has literally lapped at their door, none has entered their home. Others have lost everything right up to the rafters to the floodwaters. Places that have never flooded have feet of water in them right now. The pictures and videos that are coming out of there don’t even begin to convey what it’s really like. It’s truly heart breaking and gut wrenching to watch.
But, for all of the awfulness that we see, there is something amazing and wonderful happening in Houston and being transmitted on our tv and computer screens as well. People are coming together. In a day and age where everything is divisive, people are coming together to help each other. We’ve seen all races affected and all races helping each other. No one is stopping to ask who you voted for, what political party you belong to, if you’re gay or think it’s okay or not, what your thoughts on statues are, what religion you are-or if you even believe in God. No one cares. All anyone sees is a PERSON in trouble that they can help and they do. THIS is the America that I know and love. THIS is the America that I am a proud to call home. Because that’s what we do in this country. We come together in a crisis. It’s when our true colors come through shining brightly.
If we could continue this attitude of service and love past this disaster, we’d be living in a much better world. As the waters recede revealing the extent of the damage and the sun comes out and start drying things out, the media trucks will leave and the relief trucks will arrive. There will be people of all races, walks of life, and beliefs that will come from all corners of this great big country and help. They will shovel mud and muck, tear down, haul off and help rebuild, wipe tears, give hugs, pray, feed, clothe, and support and love on the people of Houston and the surrounding areas. You won’t be seeing those stories on the nightly news because it doesn’t bring in the ratings or stir the pot. But, this is what America NEEDS to hear and see. Because it’s us at our best.
My heart hurts for the people of Houston and the other areas impacted by this disaster. They, and their towns, will never be the same. It will take years for some areas to rebound and, sadly, some never will. I pray that mixed in with the awful memories, there will be some good ones, too. Of friendships forged by shared experiences, of the good people that stepped up and did what had to be done, and of the love that people showed their fellow man. My heart holds hope for the future because there are still many, many good people just doing the right thing. This week, they are the ones wading through water to help their friends, neighbors, and strangers. Love wins.