Tuesday morning, August 29, 2017. 7:00 a.m. text update from my friend:
“Starting to evacuate neighborhood. Would you be able to drive as close in as possible to shuttle neighbors to your house as staging area?”
Five adults (and a dog) ended up staying at our home that week. The number trickled down to three, and finally to two by the third week. All are now temporarily living elsewhere, but their homes are far from livable and their Hurricane Harvey experience will stretch forward for months.
Many whose homes were spared the flooding report feelings of guilt. Not me! I’m grateful. I’m SO grateful that when the inevitable flooding happened, and the roads were impassable except by boat, we were pressed into service by a friend who counted on us to help. I’m SO grateful for the firefighters, police and others who descended upon us with their expertise. I’m pretty happy I was “shuttling’ at that time and got to witness this first hand. The photos below are of a street near us. They don’t show the dangerously rushing current and waist to shoulder-high water farther in.
I’m SO grateful that my beloved church (St. Martha’s in Kingwood) opened our doors as a shelter and distribution center. Later, groups of parishioners formed teams to assist in the cleanup of homes. The community continues to help.
I’m SO grateful that as the week passed, the St. Vincent de Paul Society “Parish Recovery Assistance Centers” opened. St. Leo the Great Parishioners have served hot meals every day for the last 3 1/2 weeks. I spent a total of about 16 hours there, which is a small fraction of the time given by so many others. The volunteers tell me they’re not exhausted and they keep helping. Bless them.
It seems that every day the reality of loss touches a nerve. I’m still learning of friends whose homes flooded. I have yet to help most of them with cleanup or a meal, but it isn’t that I don’t want to. At first the roads were impassable except for my immediate community. Cleanup close to home began after some roads opened. There was no time to ask, “Lord, where should I go? What should I do? Who needs help the most?” We just waded in. Literally. The water was still over our ankles. I heard the Lord speak to my heart, “Do what’s in front of your face.” Yep! That’s really what I heard. Perhaps the obvious need is where we should start, even if it doesn’t always present as the greatest need.
My town is kind of a mess, but I’m SO grateful for the continuing kindnesses I witness. Bless you who pray for us. Bless you who have lost much. Bless you who have helped much.
“Do what’s in front of your face.”