First of all, thank you so much to everyone who checked on us during Hurricane Harvey. Shepherd and I were able to evacuate before the storm made landfall, and Robin stayed in Katy. He was safe and dry, although he had to live off of creamed corn and funyuns for several days, as that is what he considered to be life-sustaining supplies when I said to buy provisions to ride out the storm. We were among the fortunate ones and didn't have any damage to our apartment or cars, but we are grieving with those who lost everything. Lord, have mercy.
Harvey was a historic storm for a couple reasons, but I think what most astonished everyone watching around the country were the people of Texas. Y'all. I have never been so proud to be a Texan. CIVILIAN RESCUES. (!!!) When the state officials didn't have enough resources or people to reach everyone in trouble, the good ol' boys pulled out their boats and their tractors with front loaders to go save their neighbors. As I type that I get tears in my eyes. Even in so much loss, it was just bursting at the seams with hope and humanity. It wasn't black, white, rich, poor, white collar or blue collar. It was just neighbors. As Scout said in To Kill A Mockingbird, There's just one kind of folks. Folks.
So much of what we see on the news has been about 'us' and 'them'. It's a lot of screaming and finger pointing and hating. A lot of division. A lot of hurt. And while I do not even want to make it sound like a hurricane is a good thing, I was encouraged watching the news for the first time in a long time. Because, everyone was literally in the same boat, working together, making sure that no one was left behind. That is the way through.
You know I just have to get metaphorical about that. Because while it isn't always as blatantly obvious as the flooding after Harvey, everyone is waist deep in water in one sense or another. And it's a good chance that God has given us what the people nearest us need most - whether that's a space in the boat or a seat at our table.
I think when we choose to plunge in and show tangible care for those around us, rather than screaming at each other in an attempt to make sure we're on the right side of history, we'll see things start to turn around. We'll be sure we were on the right side of history because we chose to love instead of choosing a side. And I think in those times when we choose the way of our Shepherd - deep, self-sacrificing love and compassion- we catch a glimpse of the face of God.