Dear Harvey

Dear Harvey,

It’s been almost a month since we met, and I’m just now finding the words to rationalize what happened. I think it is safe to say that I, just like many other Houstonians, will be referring to my life in a pre and post Harvey manner. You took away a lot of things for many people, but in retrospect you gave us something too. In a world that often makes us question if humanity exists anymore, you allowed us to witness selfless acts of true, heart-felt compassion. Compassion so strong, so innate, that it almost makes me weak in the knees. The kind of compassion that only comes around every so often; the kind of compassion that is triggered by wanting to help in what feels like a helpless situation.

I have always believed that most people have inherently good souls- sometimes life gets in the way of those values, but every once in a while our souls react at such a high level of compassion and generosity where the self is removed and we act on pure, unfiltered love. You brought this out in people, Harvey. You ripped through homes and left water in places we hold dear.  The streets our children rode their bikes on until the streetlamps came on were turned into rivers in what felt like a matter of moments. You forced people out of their homes on jet skis and flat bottom boats. You soaked through memories, you displaced families, and to be honest, you overstayed your welcome.

You have left your mark on our city and on our souls as  you reminded everyone of us what it means to offer AND receive help. Watching caravans of people drive into our city to help strangers and watching people risk their lives to help others as their own homes were flooding has left a mark on my heart I will not soon forget. As you hung over our city we found ourselves no longer defined by factions- we were just humans helping humans. As my hero Brene Brown says in her new book, Braving the Wilderness, “We seem to have forgotten that even when we’re utterly alone, we’re connected to one another by something greater than group membership, politics, and ideology—that we’re connected by love and the human spirit. No matter how separated we are by what we think and believe, we are part of the same spiritual story.”

Never have I been more proud to call myself a Houstonian. As your water recedes and homes dry out, the web we wove in times of tremendous need have remained intact. We have supported each other and this city we call home, and we will continue to support each other as we rebuild- because WE ARE TEXANS and that is what we do.

Xoxo, Elaine

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