Photo caption: An off-duty firefighter joins his neighbors in rescuing those stranded by the floodwaters. Photo courtesy of Leslie Nott
Editor's note: Angelia Griffin originally wrote this post as Hurricane Harvey hovered over Houston, Texas. Her sentiments also apply to communities affected by Hurricane Irma.
There’s not much in the world I can truly say I hate. But I hate Harvey.
We have been sitting here for more hours than I can begin to count being brutally lashed by his seemingly never-ending fury. I would be lying if I said it wasn’t scary — terrifying — at times, but we are among the lucky ones. We are safe and dry.
Photo caption: The husband of a local Chick-fil-A manager uses his own equipment to rescue people from the floodwaters. Photo courtesy of J.C. Spencer
Harvey has taken so much from so many. Homes, lives, hopes, jobs — all washed into the Gulf of Mexico by his relentless anger. As the horrifying images and desperate needs flash across my screen in endless and quick succession, I sit here with tears in my eyes. Where do you begin? I have never felt so helpless. My neighbors are in dire straits and I can’t do anything but pray. It’s a terrible feeling.
Photo caption: A two story home in Vidor, Texas, in the floodwaters. Photo courtesy of Jeremy Raley
Pregnant women and their toddlers stuck on roofs waiting hours upon hours for help. A friend with seven feet of water in her home swimming for her life to a rescue boat. An elderly couple trapped in their attic with rising water. A man drowned as he clung desperately to a shopping cart return in a parking lot.
Thousands stranded. Thousands homeless. Hundreds in need of rescue. No water. No food. No end in sight.
My own church (Church Project) has taken in tons of evacuees with even more buses on the way, and we (my family) can’t even get out to help them because of devastating flooding and road closures all around us. It’s a feeling of hopeless, helpless heartbreak that I can’t even begin to express.
Photo caption: Church Project taking neighborhoods by storm to do demo work and share love with those affected. Photo courtesy of Church Project
My heart is bleeding.
Yet, in the deluge, there is also something incredibly beautiful emerging. You see, Harvey has washed away something else — hatred.
Look at these pictures! The only color in greater Houston today is red, white and blue. The only religion on our streets is love. There is no race, no creed, no gender, no socioeconomic classes, no nationality, no sexual orientation, no religion.
Photo credit: A home recovery team from Church Project at work near Houston. Photo courtesy of Church Project
There are only people helping people. There are only strangers opening their homes for strangers. There are only men and women risking their precious lives for other precious lives.
Today, no matter who you worship, what color skin you have, where you were born... we are all Texans.
For a stunning moment the world has stopped fighting against each other and started fighting for each other.
Photo credit: Residents affected by Harvey with a volunteer telling Harvey we're still here! Photo courtesy of Nina Stidham
Take note, world. You don’t need to wait for a devastating disaster to love. You don’t need to wait until your neighbors are drowning to reach across the color, religious, nationality or political boundaries. This world is suffering a different kind of storm, one far more dangerous than Harvey — a storm of hatred. Let’s refuse to let it break us.
Do it now — in honor of Texans, love your neighbor fiercely today, tomorrow and every day thereafter.
Photo credit: My friend from Tampa, Florida, my son, and myself all getting our hands dirty to assist those affected by the storm. Photo courtesy of Angelia Griffin
And Texans, I beg you to remember this day every time you gaze upon your neighbor. If you would go to any lengths to save them today, then let’s go to every length to love them for endless tomorrows.
Harvey, you can take a lot from us — and you have. But you can’t take our spirit. In fact, you have given us a glimmer of something beautiful.
We are Texas.
Beautifully, heart-brokenly yours,
**Today my heart is with those affected by Irma as well as Harvey.
HELP TEXAS: Want to help our evacuees? We desperately need your help. Go HERE to give to the Harvey Relief Fund. One hundred percent of donations to this site go to Harvey victims.
Originally posted on My Best Laid Plans.