Devastation could not extinguish our spirit

Devastation was left in its path. Hurricane Harvey covered up cities with a biblical deluge of water, debris, and filth. Nature was unleashed causing enormous death and destruction, yet the human spirit could not be extinguished.

Even as the winds tore, the rain fell and the waters rose, people helped each other with the necessities — shelter, food, clean water, a hug, survival. When life is broken down to its fundamental elements, we are left with what matters — the human relationships and community we need in order to survive and thrive as human beings.

Struggle is part of our existence

This struggle against brokenness is not new. Our communities were slogging through devastation long before Hurricane Harvey. We have allowed our nation to become ravaged by broken families, drugs, loss of faith, lack of commitments, and a manic drive allowing technology to turn us into lemmings. Harvey, with all its devastation, showed us another way. It is the way of touch, skin to skin and human to human. A hand into and out of a boat. Loading boxes on pallets for those in need and then distributing the desperately needed supplies one human to another. Shared silence, looking across the destruction with an inner assurance of, “We survived and we will survive again.” Picking ourselves up when life is broken down to its most basic elements is a haunting, glorious thing to behold.

Build community

How will we continue to rise up from Harvey? Will it be nothing but new concrete and steel and then back to isolation, separation, and the dehumanization that plagues our culture? Maybe we’ll learn something. Hopefully we will continue to hold on and build each other up. What would that look like? Here are a few ideas:

  • Invite the poor and homeless into your home for a meal and encouragement. Walk with them. Do it consistently and often.
  • Commit yourself to family and growing that family, encouraging those walking alone to join you.
  • Journey toward deep faith that compels you to look in the mirror and place no blame on others until you have repented yourself.
  • Create a simpler life judged by the quality of your human interactions.
  • Acknowledge that real change begins with you and takes action toward your immediate family and community.

When the waters recede, will we continue to look after “the least of these?” You can walk by them, or you can invite them in.

Learn the lessons of Harvey or live in the hollows

Challenge yourself to find a new way. 70% of people hate or can’t stand their jobs. 38% of people took prescribed painkillers last year. Opioids are plaguing across cultural lines — black and white, rich and poor. People live with little purpose and even less meaning. We are too busy to raise our children and then we rush to get them out of the house on their own. We are left with hollows.

Why? What’s wrong with building families and local communities that support each other across generations? If you are a victim of our disposable culture who has been left alone with no family or healthy community to speak of, begin your own traditions while looking for a tribe to call home. Learn from those who love and support each other, reach out for those who value the timeless things that allow us to survive horrors like Hurricane Harvey.

When the waters recede, may we continue to hold hands and journey forward.