I’m writing this in a time of great tragedy, stress and fear for many people in the state of Texas. Especially for those from Corpus Christi, Rockport & the Houston Area. Hurricane Harvey has brought forth so much destruction in such a quick time, and people have lost their homes, their things and their lives. The storm is not yet over, and the pain is definitely not gone, but I’m here to share a few silver linings- both to me personally and to the state as a whole.
From a personal standpoint, I have been struggling to be away and safe at school while my family is stuck in Houston dealing with inclement weather; that being said, the real struggle for me has been watching and listening to what some of my peers, and more specifically the freshmen I mentor, are having to deal with. Hearing about their families evacuations, loss of their homes & family pets- it’s heartbreaking. I’ve spent many nights this week crying and praying with them, still in quite a bit of shock about what is happening back home. We are in constant fear and states of anxiety when our family doesn’t quickly respond to our messages, or when we see Facebook updates and photos of the damage. The thought of our hometown’s being forever changed is kinda like a stab in the heart- there are so many memories being washed through and lives being threatened. The worst part is being so far and feeling helpless- we can’t be there to hug our families, we can’t be there to help people evacuate their flooded homes, we can’t get there if we tried because the major roads are closed and more storming is expected. It’s been a rough week and I’m not even facing the actual storm- I cannot even fathom what people are going through and I empathize greatly. I have however, been reminded how blessed I am, realized how short life is and how quickly circumstances change, felt a ton of nostalgia and hometown pride. Mostly, I’ve learned a lot about myself as I’ve had to be here for my freshmen. They’ve been so great, so strong and so compassionate- God blessed me by making me the “Cru Leader” to so many amazing people from back home, and it was no coincidence. I had no idea that when I met my freshmen students- most being from the houston and gulf coastal region- that we’d all be going through this together. It’s brought us closer and definitely encouraged fellowship, prayer and spiritual growth.
Speaking of bringing people together… WOW. The love and unity that has been displayed in the midst of this natural disaster is absolutely flabbergasting. The first responders are doing an amazing job, and so many “ordinary citizens” have put their own lives in danger out of the goodness of their hearts to rescue and help out those in danger. So many people from all over the state battled road closures and waited in long lines of traffic- traffic to go help people. If that doesn’t warm your heart, people.. We even had NYPD, the Cajun Navy & various other groups from all over the country come in to help us. The amount of donations that have happened- from JJ Watt’s $15 million+ fund to every single donation great and small- it’s evident that people help people in need. This is the worst storm we’ve seen in a very long time, but it’s a reminder of what humanity really is, even during a time of much division, conflict and darkness. This tragedy was dark, but the unity that came in the midst of it is a light in this world. A reminder humanity is not gone & loving thy neighbor is not a foreign concept. That’s what I love about Texas. It really is a friendly state, and I’m thankful our friends in other states took time out of their busy schedules to come help out my Texan friends. God has truly blessed us with some terrific people & through him, we unite.
People of all races, religions & political alignments put aside their differences to show their love- this is how it always should be. I honestly believe there is a lot more good the world than people think, it’s just usually overshadowed by the evil. This widespread publicity of love & unity is what this country & this world needed right now. Hurricane Harvey was awful, a a truly terrifying tragedy- I shed many tears along with my brothers, but we know God makes all things work together for good. Though this natural disaster tore so much a part, God has knitted all of us closer together. The response to the hurricane is a testament to what the Church is to be, what Texas tries to be, and what America also strives to be. Let’s use this to continue growing and uniting- as the United States of America, one nation under God.
There is hope, y’all. There’s always hope. God loves us more than we can even imagine, his love for us is quite unfathomable. If we remember this & strive to more like Christ- loving each other UNCONDITIONALLY, the world will be a better place. Let’s not forget this is our temporary home, it’s not ours and we must respect and take care of it- that includes it’s inhabitants. Love conquers all things. If we sat back and let the darkness of this disaster destroy us- if we didn’t allow the light and love that’s pouring into our state in, today would be a much darker day. People are still hurting, people are still unsure of what the future holds. BUT, people have hope & have experienced or seen the willingness to love and help others from people all over the world- I saw a video of children in Uganda praying for us.. does that not touch your heart?? Please join in me in continuing to pray and reach out to those affected by tragedy. We will rebuild, we will remain tough & we’ll come back stronger than ever. I’m truly amazed at how many shelters are stocked so full of supplies that they have to turn away donations because there is no room for them. Or how many people are being turned away from volunteering because there’s so many volunteers that they won’t all have work to do- that’s INSANE. People are so amazing & it’s important to recognize the goodness that lives in many hearts. God is using people for his kingdom, my friends. The storm was great, but our God is greater.
In a final note, I just want to say to all of Texas- I love you. O Texas, my Texas, you are a wonderful place. I can’t wait to see how you overcome this.
“When you go through deep waters, I will be with you.”