Looking Back on Harvey

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When the sun broke through for the first time on this Tuesday at about 6 PM, I went outside to take a picture of the sky. The sun looked so beautiful. That day pictures of the sun were everywhere on social media. Most days in August, Texans long for a break from the relentless summer sun, but not on Tuesday August 29,th 2017. The sun was just beautiful that evening.

During the storm, as the situation got increasingly desperate, some finger pointing started between groups divided along political lines, about whether there should have been an evacuation of the city. I was listening to the radio when Dan Patrick, the Lt. Governor of Texas, made a public statement I will try to quote. If this is not verbatim, my apologies to the Lt. Governor. “Today there are no Republicans or Democrats. There are no Black, or White or Brown People. Today there are only Texans.”

And since the aftermath, I find I linger in the checkout line because I really want to know whether the lady at the cash register had damage to her home, and although I’ve stood in line for food at the hospital cafeteria before, I never knew that the short order cook has a farm in New Caney and built his house up on a hill. And if you want to meet the neighbors, now is a great time to mention that you know how to use a chain saw. (A shout out to my daughter Laura in the photo, demonstrating the safe use of a chain saw – You are awesome!)

The photos of the destruction can be overwhelming, but I find myself focusing on the hundreds, even thousands of photos of regular people acting with tremendous courage to help each other under the most terrible of circumstances. And it has occurred to me that maybe what’s wrong in America is not that we have too many problems- but that we don’t have enough really BIG ones that force us to rely on one another.   As awful as Harvey was, maybe it did that.