Picture taken 12:30am Saturday during first day of heavy rain. Captured during a flash of lightning. Clear Lake received 20+ inches that evening.
As I write this, yet another band of heavy rain is hitting the Clear Lake City area of Houston. Harvey has been a storm of historic portions. It will likely go down in the history books as one of the costliest and most damaging storms ever recorded. Knowing that I lived through it along with millions of other Houstonians is both sobering and fascinating. Sobering in knowing that just 3-4 miles north of where I live, families are still being rescued via boats from houses with feet, not inches, of water inside of them. Fascinating in that the boats are largely owned by everyday citizens who came to help their neighbors.
In my previous post, I wrote about the “human goodness” that shows when disasters strike. I made the argument why does it only have to show up during catastrophic events like Harvey? I do hope that the goodness continues. Houstonians and Texans step up to help their fellow Texans. I would say this is very true. Today, there was an nice short story about a huge earth mover truck being used to load people from one flooded neighborhood. The news showed the truck just as it was about to unload. Once it did, you saw families who were diverse. Those helping unload the truck were officers from another area than the one the rescue was occurring. When the reporter asked if the driver would be interested in being interviewed, one of the responders said that he didn’t speak English. This image to me was a microcosm of Houston, one of the most diverse cities in the nation.
We will have days, weeks, months, and dare I say, years to recover. Houston has a lot to fix, but we will bounce back. As awful as the past few days have been, Houstonians have shared experience that no one has experienced. On top of this, the experience was mostly shared on social media. If you were in the middle of the storm like I was during the first night, text messages and things like Facebook was your connection to know what was happening and for others to make sure all was okay (or not). For those outside of Houston, you share our pain. You cried when you saw senior citizens and young children emerge from the floodwaters. You even got the “feels” when you saw examples of humans helping humans (my favorite was the person who shared her large porch to individuals being unloaded from rescue boats, which soon became a mini-community center that included cookies and coffee!). Houston, I hope, will be remembered for what a large urban city can be – a diverse, helpful, caring community of neighbors.
Our new sense of shared community will be tested once this is over. Hurricane Ike in 2008 gave a preview of this idea. Years after, I believe that some positive impact was made on Houston. Living here after, I feel that I know my neighbors better and as Harvey showed, we stepped up to the plate quickly when someone said, “please help”. Positive change was seen and I personally think those that remembered and lived through Ike knew that it was time to take care of this great place we call Houston.
If you read to the end of this post, I would like you to consider donating to the fundraising effort by Houston Texan player J.J. Watt. I’m a big fan of J.J. , not just for his awesome gift to take down a quarterback, but for his genuine love for the city of Houston. If you are not from the area, you likely do not know all the extra community service he does off-season. He’s a good guy with a big heart. You can read about his fundraiser by going to YouCaring.com/JJWatt
Goodness needs to keep going. Again, as I type this more rain is falling. We don’t need more rain. As one of my college friends stated earlier today, “I used to like the sound of falling rain.”
I agree. Falling rain will forever make millions of Houstonians sad, scared, and wondering what will be next.
Only answer I can think of is onward.
Now more than ever.