My brain has been spacey all day

It’s kind of like my head is floating. Maybe it’s from exhaustion. Maybe it’s from staring at the TV all day, trying to finish what I thought was a final season only to find out there’s another next year. A happy ending today was too much to ask for.

The creek has decreased by half an inch, and the Brazos by two inches. Or maybe it’s the other way around. I’m pretty sure that’s right, though.

Maybe we can stop worrying so much. Maybe we can stop asking if the rivers have crested or if there are any road closures or which gas stations are actually offering fuel. I can’t wait until I can go to a grocery store without asking the cashier if they’re safe, if they’re dry and then, the follow up if they say no, ‘how bad is the damage?’

But our Marshall told everyone it was safe to come home. Mom is coming back today. I’m bringing my journals and embroidery things back in from the car. There are books on the bottom shelves of my bookcases again.

All that’s really left to do is wait for the water to go down so we can get into houses and start tearing things out.

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One Word

I don’t even remember what it used to be. But there was one. One word that encapsulated what I felt I was.

It was my favorite conversation opener: describe yourself in one word. I loved watching the expression on my conversation partner’s face as they sifted through their mental dictionary, the struggle as they tried to settle on one word that encapsulated who they were.

I heard intelligent, creative, messy. A personal favorite (points for creativity) was euphoric, until he changed his mind about a year later, the same night I asked him what it was he wanted to be and he whispered “clean” with a desperation that imparted a considerable measure of sorrow.

Joyful was the most recent response, and I saw it written on his face, shining through from his heart, and I felt warm — like sitting outside in late spring or early summer when the sun is thawing the frost from winter.

Chaotic. That was it — mine. Two years ago, when my mind was full of static and there was an elephant clinging to my chest. When my behavior was erratic and and I was living in what I would come to call “The Dark Times.”

Sometimes I think it’s still relevant, but maybe not as much as it used to be. The chaotic moments are further apart than they were, praise the Lord. They come at night, when it’s cold and I’m alone, when I’ve gone too long without rest or contact or Jesus.

Hopeful. That’s it. My now-word.

Please, Jesus

please, protect my state. Protect my county, my town. My family and neighbors, friends and strangers… 


It feels a bit like being in El Salvador again.

My muscles hurt, the backs of my legs and my shoulders mostly. It’s hot and muggy outside. I’m washing my hair every night, partially because I don’t know for a fact we won’t lose power and partially because I’m so sweaty by the end of the day to not scrub every inch of my body feels like a crime against myself.

We drank a lot of Gatorade in El Salvador. It was like “honey from the promised land,” according to Alyus.

But really, it was. And it is again, now.


9 days. 9 days since Harvey touched down. I don’t think I’ve slept well since this all began. And it’s not over. We might have come home too soon. The rivers are cresting and flowing into places they’re not supposed to be. My mom has already gone back to my aunt’s house; my dad and I are waiting it out as long as possible. We both have faith it won’t reach us, but it’s not so far off that we feel comfortable enough to leave our “go bags” empty.

Some of my dearest friends have water in their house. It’s in my church. The creek looks like a river and the rivers look like lakes. No, the pasture lands look like lakes. It’s eery — vast expanses of silvery water with oak trees growing right in the middle, roots and half of the trunk entirely submerged.

And there’s nothing to do right now. Those who needed to evacuate have evacuated; there’s no point in getting cleanup and recovery started if the water is just going to come undo any progress made.


When this burden is lifted, I’ll give thanks to your name
But until it is finished, I’ll give praise just the same

For we have this hope as an anchor for our soul
You are with us; we will never be alone

I know it’s only for a moment and everything is working for your glory
But I need your perfect love to hold me
safe within your promise ’till the storm has passed

(Elevation Worship, my friends, have seriously been a little life preserver helping me cling to my king)

I think that we’re going home today

Harvey has passed us. He’s in Beaumont. We’re still worried about water flowing our direction, but as long as we’re keeping an eye on it we can still start cleanup. I’m about to drive out home to drop my dog off and scoop up my favorite nine-year-old before heading back to Angleton to offer some extra hands at the fairgrounds with the animals.

Stay safe, Texans. Have hope. We’ll make it through this together.

Safe and Sound

yeah, I just started humming that Taylor Swift song.

We’re safe and dry and cozy at my aunt’s house — two bed, one bath, with six humans and six canines. I’m on the couch right now. My cousin is to my left, playing video games. My boyfriend and my puppy are on my right, napping.

The flooding is getting worse. I mean, we knew that would happen, right? The hurricane is coming back our direction, dropping more water on top of us while what he dropped onto the north flows our direction in the rivers.

I’m grateful to be safe, but I’m angry that this is happening again. And the anger is mixed with frustration at not being able to do anything. And the frustration is sitting in my chest, turning my heart sour.

I started sending messages to friends outside of the danger zone — asking about their churches pulling together donations when this is over. I’m trying to find contact numbers to save for when the rain stops, for when we can begin the cleanup, for when we can begin getting the animals being cared for at the fairgrounds back to their owners, back to their homes.

God, if they have homes anymore.

God, why again?

Some of these people lost everything in last year’s flood. Some of these people just got their lives put back together.


Elevation Worship is part of what’s getting me through this. Listening to that worship group, friends, is like hearing the best sermon of your life.

and the praise is yours; you’re the One we bow before
reigning over us as we lift you up.
You will reign forevermore.

I know, Jesus. You’ve got it. You’ve got us.

Worthy is the lamb of God.

When I Grow Up,

I want to be like my daddy, setting out to rescue a loved one from a flood only to expand that rescue mission, fielding calls and finding boats for others.


The Gulf Coast is in trouble, y’all. Hurricane Harvey is wrecking us; Houston and Dickinson are feeling it. Corpus and Rockport have already felt it. The rivers — The Brazos and The San Bernard — are about to feel it.

It’s last year all over again, but amplified. Times ten, times fifty, maybe even times two hundred. Because last year it was just rain from the north hitting our rivers, overflowing into our yards.

This year, it’s that, plus some. It’s the rain from the north running into our rivers, plus rain right on top of us. This storm that should have remained a tropical depression escalated into a category 4 when it hit.

We’re not really sure what Harvey is going to do. He’s “hard to predict,” as the weather stations say. All they know for certain is that we can expect 40″ or more of water.

Oh.

As of 10:35 A.M., we were literally just issued a mandatory evacuation.

Faith

“God is so good to me! I got a job offer –”

I’ll be honest, friend, and tell you that as we sat there chatting in the Texas humidity, I spaced out a little bit. As you continued with the conversation we were already having, I initiated a new one in my head.

Would you still say that if you hadn’t been offered the job? What if you’d ended up staying home in B-County for another semester? Would you still proclaim with so much joy that ‘God is so good’?

I wasn’t motivated to spark this imagined conversation out of spite or judgement, friend, but genuine curiosity. And I was not asking you alone, but myself as well.


Our second day in El Salvador, one of my coworkers from university messaged me, asking if we had heard anything about being hired back in the fall. She saw one of our bosses posting about interviews, even though none of the existing employees had heard back about their existing positions.

It caused no small level of stress. Until I read Hebrews 11, the Heroes of Faith chapter.

Maybe it was the circumstance. Maybe it was being in El Salvador — a lot of things were put into perspective during that trip, but this most of all that day: the fact that God is good whether or not he comes through on something we want (or think we want). So I perched on the low brick wall I practically lived on when I had the chance to sit down, and I started writing.

God hasn’t promised to keep me employed. He hasn’t promised me lifetime security or comfort; he promised to be with me and to love me — and how great a promise that is, to love me at my best (which isn’t very good) and at my worst (which is, truth be told, pretty awful). Praise the Lord!

— journal entry, Aug. 4


That, friends, is the start of how we ended up here: home for the semester, most of my time blocked out for tutoring and piano students. And I’m not even mad about it (anymore).