I just got back from several days in Houston.... For a week I've been looking for the words.
I'm not really sure I can find them.
Maybe Dickens said it best...
"it was the best of times, it was the worst of times."
If you were to drive down the flooded streets of the areas hit hard by Hurricane Harvey, you'd be blown away.
House after house, street after street, has piles and piles of ripped out debris- sheetrock, floorboards, insulation. But it's not just the homes themselves, but so often, all the treasures they held inside them, as well...
Out by the curb in piles stacked high, are couches, TV's, High chairs, wedding albums, letter jackets, fine art, refrigerators, cribs, diplomas, desks, stuffed animals, computers, and piles of clothes and shoes. Damp, musty, and swollen with week old flood water.
And it is easy to start to lose hope.
It's not one home.
It's every home... every where you look.
But here is what I learned from being back with the brave and beautiful people of my Home State, and the city that raised me...
It would be easy, to let your eyes fall on the devastation. There is plenty of that to see. But don't let your eyes stop there. If you look just beyond the piles, you'll see the helpers. And they're everywhere, just like Mr. Rogers said they would be. If you look a little harder, you'll see crews and crews of friends and neighbors, carrying wheelbarrows and sandwiches, and gloves and trash bags. You'll see the Church, far outside her walls, mourning with those who mourn, and holding up the arms of the weary.
And if you look even further, you'll see what I got to see with my very own eyes, this last week. Parents, walking down the streets, next to their children, pulling their own little red wagons full of ice cold water bottles. Families driving slowly down the streets, asking "how many are working here today?", and offering brown bag lunches and snacks.
You'll see friends becoming family, as so many people open their homes to the displaced. People are sharing their cars, their kitchens, their clothes, and their time.
The hum of the fans and dehumidifiers, carry the sounds of both the laughter and the tears.
So, it really is...
It is the best of times, tucked right inside the worst of times.
It feels time has stopped, yet real life goes on. There will be birthdays, and first days back at school, and you better believe there will be Friday night lights.
The people of Texas are weary.
But they are also rising up out of the flood waters. They are struck down, but not destroyed. Discouraged, but not without hope.
It is heartbreaking, and also beautiful.
It's both... at the same time.
Texas, we are blown away by your courage and your compassion. We know it will be weeks and months and maybe years, til the days feel normal again, somehow.
Please know that we love you, we are praying, and we are withyou, Texas.