I’ve lived twelve years categorizing life into two sections… Before Katrina and After Katrina. The time between those sharp life lines is gray and murky. It feels heavy and heartbreaking and in the same moment deep of spirit and community.
My After Katrina has played out in Houston, the same place I evacuated the grasp of Katrina on a similar wet August night. Houston has become my life. You don’t know the abundance of her secrets when you are just passing by. It’s big, it’s alive, it’s a giant diverse jungle of big business in cowboy boots all marching on it’s own path somewhere that feels so electric. And now it’s got to digest this. Harvey.
The word feels so awkward in my mouth — Harvey. The news keeps telling me this is a weather event. This is a life changing event, Harvey’s mark is strong and thick. The Greater Houston Area will never be the same again. As I type this with tear stained cheeks, we still don’t even know how this ends, hundreds of thousands of my neighbors are evacuating to second floors, to shelters, or to the unknown as we wait to see if the rivers, levees, reservoirs, bayous, canals, ditches, and sandbags can hold. I pray, I hope, I hit my knees that they can. They have to.
There is already so much that couldn’t contain Harvey; houses, businesses, and lives transformed by his water. Watching this type of devastation unfold again is surreal. Sitting in my safe and dry home, I am thankful and I am helpless. The same way I watched my beloved New Orleans go under water twelve years ago. Houston is not new to the devastation scene, tales of Allison and Ike, and more recently the Memorial and Tax Day Floods are woven into everyone’s life. We already have the blueprint for survival, for revival.
We are a people of grit and hard work, and we’ve already started. The helpers are on every horizon wearing armor of courage and compassion. The first responders of this beautiful city are tireless, dedicated, and make our broken hearts swell with pride. Our friends in Louisiana have already begun repaying a decade old debt they never wanted to hold. Neighbors who were once Strangers are now Brothers and Sisters in boats, in shelters, on social media. Our local news stations, businesses, leaders, hospitals, our beloved HEB, Mattress Mack, and JJ Watt, moving forward together. We will put in the work, sweat, and tears. We will heal and rise stronger than the water ever could. We will Be Someone. A Stronger Houston. An After Harvey Houston.