Houston is under water.
The images and news of the destruction created by Hurricane Harvey has been mind blowing for me.
Like many people, I didn't realize the magnitude of this storm. There have been bigger hurricanes but none have dumped this much rain over an area than this one. This is one of those "once in a lifetime moments." It's hard to fathom...one of the biggest cities in the United States has been pounded with rainfall that could reach up to 50 inches in some areas. We watched the horrific images of Hurricane Katrina and how it ripped through New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. Now, Hurricane Harvey has done the same to Houston and South Texas. What can we do but watch?
I don't have any family that live in Houston. But I do have a few friends who live there. Fortunately, they are all safe and have not been flooded. But they know tons of people who live in their city who have been. I was glad to hear that my friends were ok. The last thing that you want is for something to happen to your friends. But you still feel some compassion for those who aren't as fortunate. You feel helpless. What can you do?
You could tell jokes. That seems to be the norm on social media. I've seen far too many jokes about Houston being flooded. What's funny about that? I'm not sure how anybody could find any of this funny. Some people have lost their homes, their cars, their possessions, and some...their lives. And folks think it's ok to post jokes about it on social media. I've blocked a few people on social media for doing that. I don't want to see it. Let's see...what else can you do?
You could complain and point your finger. Oh...that seems to happen a lot. People are blaming the mayor and city officials for not evacuating the city of Houston. I think there's about 6 million people in that city. You can't get them all to leave at once. That's not possible. Should people blame the mayor? I don't know. I don't live in Houston. That's not for me to decide. At this point, does blaming the mayor and city officials help? You could also blame megachurch pastor Joel Osteen for "initially being reluctant" to open up his church as a place of refuge for those who were displaced. His church can hold more than 15,000 people. He eventually opened the church up. Do I blame him? No, I don't know him or his church. At this point, does blaming him matter?
You could come up with "conspiracy theories" that the government broke the damns and levees around the city and made the flooding worse. Yes...I saw that actually being debated on social media. I had to block them, too. I think having 40+ inches of rain fall in less than week probably led to the flooding. Do I buy into these theories? Nah. Why should I? Especially if you don't hear it from somebody who lives in Houston. I've found it extremely interesting that the people who have the most to say about what did or didn't happen in Houston...don't live in Houston. What do THEY know?
This is a major natural disaster in one of the largest cities in the country. This ain't a small town that was flooded by the Mississippi River. This...or any other natural disaster could happen ANYWHERE. It could happen in your city and mine. If something like this happened, would you want people making jokes and pointing the finger?
When I drove home today, I pulled my car in my driveway and I looked at my house. Then, I imagined if the entire first floor was flooded and I had to gather my family and escape through my bedroom window. How would I get out? Where would I go? What would I take? These are the kind of decisions that people are making right now as you are reading this.
Anybody can tell jokes on twitter or complain on Facebook about Joel Osteen. Few will do what they SHOULD do...and that's shut up. If you're not a part of the solution, then you're a part of the problem. You can give money or you can donate clothes and supplies. I definitely plan to do that.
At the very least...we can all pray for those affected. And it's never too hard...or too late to pray.