Houston vs Harvey: A lopsided victory

If you’re a regular on this blog. Hi Mom! This will be an unusual post.

Good afternoon Houstonians! Is anybody else confused about what day it is? I feel like last Friday was 5 minutes and 5 years ago. Some of you reading this may have lost someone, lost everything, or simply are feeling hopeless. I love you too, but I wanted to make sure I did my part to let the world know about what has been happening here. I wanted y’all to see a bit of what I’ve seen – the people of Houston refusing to lose to Harvey.

So I’ve decided to write a love letter.

First of all. I love Texas. When my folks packed us up 25 years ago and moved us across the country to San Antonio. We were scared and we didn’t know what to think. Now I know what to think – I think I feel sorry for the rest of you people on earth.

I love you guys on the Jetskis. I may never learn your names, but I will not forget you finally heard my yelling voice across the torrent of water. You saved our stranded friends and their dog from the second floor of their home. Way to go Fellas. Way to be anonymous and heroic.

I love you, Jeff Lindner. Thanks for being calm and professional – Way to stand in the breach (almost literally). Who knew an avg dude with a strong nerve and an actual blue collar shirt could calm down the masses.

I love you swamp boat guys! Your skills weaving that gigantic fan boat through fences, trees, and class three rapids to save our neighbors was impressive, not to mention deafening. Thanks for coming from wherever it was you came from to our little neighborhood.

I love the national guard. Man, you guys have some toys! We watched you save our friends and their grandchildren from their second floor in your giant truck and ridiculous airboat. Thanks for giving up weekends and vacations to serve our great state and country. It has been quite impressive to live right across the street from your HQ – helicopters, air boats, giant trucks, self-propelled bridges. ‘Merica!

I love you Houstonians. The world is starting to see through their TV’s what us locals have known for a long time now. Houstonians do not look like John Travolta in Urban Cowboy – we simply have no typical look. We hail from all over the world and we look like it. My spirit was saddened seeing so many rescues but my spirit was lifted seeing so many different people from so many varied places, heritages, and continents saving and being saved.

I love you Houston Samaritans. The flood waters started to recede Monday morning here in our suburb of Katy. By noon our neighborhood had been descended upon by an army of volunteers. Complete strangers were tearing out sheetrock, kneeling in sewage with shop vacs, and hauling sewage soaked carpets over their shoulders to the street. There were no organizations leading or governmental groups ordering. It was just a ground swell of support from the people for their fellow Texans and Houstonians. It still chokes me up. People had been trapped in their homes and neighborhoods by flooded streets and they weren’t celebrating their deliverance. They were prepping to help. THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! By that afternoon whole groups of people were working their way farther north into Katy. Just the mob I was swept into demo’d and remediated four houses that afternoon. Lots of tears all around. By Tuesday morning people had mapped out where the damage was the worst and even more volunteers descended. This time hundreds of men, women, and children descended onto the streets of flooded Katy. As I walked out of my house that morning preparing for another long day of blistered feet and an aching back. A group of people, 10+ strong, walked right up to our front door, “How can we help?”. Wow! We sent a group into the house and made lunches for 100’s of our neighbors while another group dragged all our flood debris to the curb. A half hour later, I was at a neighbors house with a friend of a friend who had driven in from San Antonio just to work! We needed more hands to rip out a wood floor and a simple yell out the front door of “We need help over here” landed 15 volunteers. Into the house they went, tools and all. WOW! I could go on with these stories but I think you’re getting the drift. People have organized themselves into crews and they’re seeking out the hurting to place themselves into the wounds. It is beautiful to watch! I have been fed lunch by three complete strangers in three different neighborhoods. I LOVE YOU ALL!

I know the recovery of Houston will be a marathon and we’re most likely still in mile one. Dreams have been crushed, homes have been destroyed, and everyone has been DISRUPTED. Yet – I am Hopeful.

This part is more personal…

I love our friends! We kept y’all abreast of the water rising towards TeamHovis HQ via lighthearted Facebook and Instagram posts. You guys were following right along there with us as the water spilled up over the eaves into the house. As my “idiot” friends were filling up social media feeds with pictures of 80’s hair band, the Scorpions. I knew it would be an interesting weekend. We would in fact be rocked by a Hurricane.

I love you Purvi for showing up, without even being asked, with bricks to help us raise all our furniture off the floor. You saved our bacon sir. We would have lost much more than flooring and some drywall without you.

I love you S Woods Ln. While we may have ultimately lost the sand bag battle to the waters of Harvey, it was joy to fight back together. We lost a few homes but we didn’t lose anybody!

I love you Black & Tans & Shiner Bock. It sure is better to watch flood waters rise while consuming delicious beer.

I love you people of BridgePoint Bible Church. It seems we have lost much. Our earthly home is still under water and many of our brothers and sisters still are displaced. We’re going to gather in strange places and love each other through some extremely hard things, but I know we’ll do it. As the APB’s have gone out to help, I have seen such amazing responses. Selflessness. Character. Compassion. Are pouring out of you. We have been Disrupted. I do not know all the reasons why tragedies like this happen, but I do know one of the reasons – God desires His people to make Him known by our love for one-another. Love each other well and let’s have that love radiate out to our neighbors through serving and caring for them.

The best for last –

I love you Allisa. You have never looked more lovely or exhausted. You have turned our flooded out home into a soup kitchen and boarding house. And somehow you did it overnight. If my count is right you’ve organized, prepared, and delivered over 600 sack lunches and fed over 30 of our neighbors every night. You are the literal hands and feet of Jesus! For the rest of their lives, our children will remember their mother feeding all our neighbors and hugging everyone who stood still for too long. I desperately want to write more but I am fairly sure you’re going to hit me for writing this much. Way to wade in fearlessly.

 

I am still a bit exhausted so I am going back to the house now where again tonight we’ll sit down and break bread with our neighbors.  Before the meal, I’ll thank God for His many mercies and for sparing our friends. I’ll read a bit from the 4th chapter of Philippians –

“whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”

I have seen these things in you Houstonians. Thank you.

 

 

 

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