On August 26, 2017, Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas. It came in strong, and punched, punched, and punched at the lower part of Texas and Louisiana. Houston, one of our biggest cities, was hit incredibly hard. Flooding cut off access to roads and isolated families, seniors and average citizens. Many people were left stranded and kind hearted, average Joe boat owners rowed out to rescue them. They may have lost their belongings and their home, but they were going to live another day and know that they were cared for because other Americans made a mission out of helping their fellow man.
For over a week later our country has been glued to our television screens as we watched our fellow Americans struggle to maintain some semblance of normalcy while cars, homes, and businesses are literally washed away. We marvel at the force and power of Mother Nature and her ability to drop record-breaking rains in short time frames, and we also marvel at the resilience of the people who had to endure it and managed to soldier on in spite of the horrendous events they are forced to endure.
The images from the Houston area scenes can bring so much emotion. Over the last week, I watched CNN and prayed, cried, donated to Red Cross, felt helpless, cried some more, and was reminded with every interview that we are a nation of people who love one another and reach out to help. When water was flooding Houston, the highway leading into the city was lined with private citizens who had hauled their own personal boats and came to help strangers. Neighbors watched out for one another, and because of the sheer number of people who were affected by the storm, the kindness of strangers was the force that carried the day. Sure, police and soldiers were there, but their presence was minuscule compared to the army of regular citizens who stood up to reach out a hand. It is truly inspiring and beautiful to watch the American spirit in action. We may fight tooth and nail over our football teams, our political alliances, or even our locales, but once we see another American suffering that desire to reach out and do all we can kicks in. It's incredible to watch such an outpouring of love. That's what makes this country great. We have a huge expanse of land, and many different accents, looks, cultures, and rituals, but when someone is needing help, there's always another American who will stand up to say, "let me give you a hand."
Yesterday I had felt this power on a more intimate level. A fluke tornado with a hail storm attached landed squarely in my neck of the woods. For five minutes I stood in a hallway with my two dogs and listened to my house get pelted from all sides. It felt like hammers were striking every surface of the house. Windows broke, siding was damaged, my roof was ruined, and at the end, it was raining in my dining room.
I went outside immediately after and stood with neighbors surveying the damage to the properties. It felt like we had lived through an event of Biblical proportions, and we were all just happy to be able to reconnect. Everyone was checking that we were safe, and within an hour my broken window was covered and plans were made to check in about how to correct the damage.
I called one of my contractor friends, and he was at my door before nightfall. He patched small items and added containers to my attic space so any further rain would be halted before it reached the drywall in my dining room.
I needed to show some homes the following day, but one call to Atali, and that was completely covered so I could stay at the house and clean up while I waited for my insurance agent.
Help showed up, friends reached out, and suddenly things seemed manageable.
I didn't have to be rescued, and I was able to sleep comfortably in my own bed, but I tell you what, I slept with a smile on my face because although I had been stressed I knew that there is help just past my door. That's the America I know.
So, Mother Nature can send her best, but even when we're stressed and worn down we'll keep reaching out, we love each other, and we pull together.
PS - Please continue to pray for Texas and Lousiana. My little mess is nothing, while our fellow Americans in that part of our country will be digging out for years. Let's not forget them when the cameras move on to the next item.