Monday, August 28, 2017

The Flood Gates of Tears

By now, I know y'all are all aware of what is happening in my beloved state of Texas and while we are safe here in Dallas, the same cannot be said for the southeastern part.

The devastation is real folks. The photographs and videos you are seeing haven't been photo-shopped for dramatic purposes. Except for one or two, like the shark swimming beside the Houston highway, they are real and it is just that bad and it's not just Houston and the surrounding areas that are being impacted. This storm is reaching up into Central Texas and also the area I call home twice a year, Warrenton. These small towns are taking a beating as well.

What is also real is the people who are reaching out to help. Not just locally or from nearby towns, for they are just as deluged as Houston, but from points near and far. The local police and fire departments working 12 hour shifts and catching what little rest when they can. In the neighborhoods hit by tornadoes, neighbors helping other neighbors cover roofs, windows and clear debris. Donations of time, food, provisions, money pouring in as the water rises. Strangers bringing boats to rescue strangers trapped in homes, cars and roads. Businesses sending meals to feed the rescuers and workers.  State after state sending able bodied people to help. Americans taking care of one another. This is  the hope I cling to.

As I watch the images of the damage followed by the ones of folks living the Golden Rule, I'm overcome with emotion. I cry at the sights of the devastation and I cry at the outpouring of love that is deeper than the waters.

But then I find myself feeling anger at those who ask "why did they not get out?" and other hateful remarks. 

If they want to know why, I'll be glad to tell them.

There are many who didn't have the means to evacuate and if they did, where would they go. And once they started, how far would they need to go. I can't imagine having to make those kind of decisions or wondering how far my money would get me. 

Texans who have lived on the Gulf Coast their whole lives have ridden out many hurricanes. And they did this one, but short of having a crystal ball to consult, how could anyone have predicted what is transpiring now. Try wrapping your head around a rain prediction of 30" then add another 10-20" more to it. It's unfathomable.

Katrina taught us a valuable lesson. Do y'all remember the images of people trapped on the highways? I do and with a city as large as Houston, it would have been worse.  I talked to a friend who had driven in from Houston on Thursday before the storm made landfall and he told me it took 7 and a half hours to make it to Dallas. Folks, under normal circumstances that's a 3 1/2 hour drive!

Again, without a psychic, who could have predicted that once the storm came in that it would hover in one place? If you saw the early prediction for the storm, the weather map looked like Spaghetti Night Special at Denny's! Until Harvey hit the coast the forecasters just didn't know.

But Texans are tough. We have to be to live here. We don't get pleasant showers, but instead drought or flood. Twisters, electrical storms, thunderstorms, hurricanes, hot as hell one moment and a blue northern blows in and drops the temp 20 degrees. This is our weather. And if you were to ask a true Texan if they would live anywhere else, you'd get a firm no. We bend with the wind, but it can't and won't break us.

And if you look at the photos, you'll see we don't run from a storm. We run head-straight right into it 'cause we know when it passes there will be a rainbow waiting for us.

So to all those who don't have a helping hand to offer, but just want to point fingers, put your hands back in your pockets if that's the best you have to offer. 'Cause quite frankly we're busy down here taking care of one another and just don't have the time or inclination to mess with fools.

(Photo credit Lisa Love Harris and God's mercy)