I have to start by saying that this city has never sincerely felt like home the way it has these last few days. I am so so proud to call myself a Houstonian. ??
It all started last Friday when a category 4, 130 mph roaring powerhouse of a hurricane, slammed into the Texas coast. At first, it toyed with us. A little light rain, a few cloudy days. What happened next has become national headlines. I don’t think there’s a single person left on this side of the planet that hasn’t heard about the kind of hurt, confusion, and damage this storm has caused.
The initial reaction: denial. Those of us that have lived in Houston long enough can tell you the first thing we all think when we hear about a tropical storm or hurricane is that there’s no way it’s going to happen. It’s a risk that comes with living so close to the Gulf. Anyone who’s lived here long enough can tell you that June to October is hurricane season. So when the weatherman comes on TV for the umpteenth time telling you something is looming in the Gulf, you’re so completely desensitized by all of this that you don’t even bat an eye. Didn’t he say that last week too? Yeah, I think so!
Then the rains start, the way they did on Friday, slow and steady. And on Saturday when it comes down harder, you bargain with yourself. You make an effort to grab a few extra bottles of water, a few double A battery packs, and a fresh bag of coffee to tide you over, just in case. But you also ask your friends if they’re free to grab breakfast because there’s a “hurricane” coming and we won’t be able to see each other for a few days. Ha, yeah right. See ya tomorrow!
But then it rains all day and all night endlessly. On Sunday, when the roof of your office starts dripping water, and you need to go up into the attic every two hours to replace the bowl that’s preventing it from soaking it any further, you start to feel anxious and uneasy. You know you’re in deep trouble when the news channel suspends everything on TV to bring you around the clock coverage of the storm. The deep gray skies and the endless rain bring zero consolation.
On Monday morning when they announce that the reservoir that collects water near your house, is filling faster than it can empty and there is a genuine possibility that the water is going to start overflowing and unleash itself onto the surrounding houses, meaning yours, the depression and uncertainty sets in. Then you hear it. The name of your subdivision on TV saying that you’ll need to leave your home after all the many buckets full of water that you’ve thrown out and replaced for three days straight, you feel a sense of hopelessness and total loss. It’s day 4, and it seems like it’s never going to end.
Drone footage captured by Chase Boogie.
On Tuesday when you have to rescue your in laws because their neighborhood was affected by the same reservoir that is threatening to destroy yours, a real sense of acceptance occurs. I made a plan; I packed a bag. I placed our passports inside, my birth certificate, a change of clothes, a pair of pajamas. Thinking back now, there was so much more than that I needed to take, but in that moment of acceptance, those were the only things that occurred. If we were indeed rescued by boat the way that we’d seen so many others being rescued on the news, that was all we’d be able to take, bare essentials.
We’d move everything we had time to save on the second floor of our house. We’d roll up the rugs, drag upstairs the dining chairs I took months to pick out, and hope and pray for the best. It’s the most bone-chilling thought. Your home, your sanctuary, the place that is completely and entirely yours ripped right out of your hands, and there’s absolutely nothing you can do to save it. Saying you feel helpless would be the understatement of the century. Untethered and falling from the sky is the only way I know how to describe it.
Fortunately for us, our story ended a lot better than most. We are truly blessed to still call our house our home. The reservoir that threatened to release water on our homes made it all the way to the borders of our subdivision and then, by some miracle of God, it stopped. I feel that this makes it my responsibility to help those that were not so fortunate. The people you see on tv, the ones you hear about on the news, I can tell you, it’s all very real. Houston and its surrounding areas look just like, if not worse than what you see. Thousands upon thousands of homes remain flooded thanks to Hurricane Harvey. My city is underwater. There are people still waiting for rescue teams to help them evacuate. Tomorrow it’ll have been an entire week since this all started. The shelters that are housing all the evacuees are in dire need of supplies.
I have to take a minute to recognize HOUSTON; you are beyond amazing. In the midst of all this 21st-century venomous hate that has consumed so many, Houston has come out on top. The message is loud and clear; we are all ONE. When it comes to saving a life, race, ethnicity, color, creed, do not matter. A life is a life. And Houston has set an example for the world to follow.
I’m here to ask you to do whatever it is that you can do to help those that need it right now, whether it’s saying a small prayer or donating what ever it is that you feel comfortable giving. Please remember, no amount is too small.
Here are some of the charities you can consider:
- Houston Food Bank
- JJ Watt Houston Flood Relief Fund
- Red Cross (You can also text ‘Harvey’ to 90999 and automatically donate $10 by doing so. This will be added to your next phone bill)
- Also, Anees and I have been thinking about starting a GoFundMe page where we’d collect funds and use those to buy supplies for local shelters based on what they need. If this is something you’d be more interested in, please leave a comment below. If there is enough interest, we would LOVE to get this going! We’d also be happy to provide details on what we’ve purchased with your contributions and where it’s being delivered.