Perspective: Hurricane Harvey
Merriam-Webster defines ‘perspective’ as: a : the interrelation in which a subject or its parts are mentally viewed places the issues in proper perspective; also : point of view b : the capacity to view things in their true relations or relative importance trying to maintain my perspective. (Perspective)
If you follow my personal page you know that this has been on my mind for quite a while. While working through some challenges, both at work and personally, I realized that perspective is everything. And now, after surviving Hurricane Harvey and its devastation in both Texas and Louisiana, I believe this even more.
According to the FEMA website (https://www.fema.gov/disaster/4332) there have been 40 counties in Texas declared as Major Disaster Declaration under #4332 and over $336 Million in aid has been approved as of September 16, 2017.
In the middle of the storm, I had a long chat with an author regarding perspective and what she felt had led her down the road she’s followed in her publishing career to date. She was extremely frank with me and I loved our chat. I learned something so basic but profound from her and that is, we each have our journeys and those journeys influence our writing the way they are supposed to. Powerful, right?
I also learned that this author wrote for years, was traditionally published and then took a break. She didn’t write any words during that break. She met her husband and her life changed dramatically --- all for the best. When she started writing again, she felt like she was behind. So, she started working on her craft and educating herself. She made an effort to reconnect with those who supported her in the beginning and she knew would support her now. Even though she stepped away from the publishing scene for a while, her support system was still there because those who were her real friends remained.
It’s easy for me to apply this same principle to the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey because friends, family, and strangers alike are reaching out to help people who are in need during this most stressful, trying and devastating time.
My sister and her family had to be evacuated by boat from her home in Orange, Texas. They are strong and determined individuals so they will survive. They were able to take refuge along with others in my parents’ home which had no electricity, but was dry. I guess dry and dark was better than wet and dark.
Time is moving on after Harvey in Texas – the days turn to nights and nights to days – and the cleanup has begun. Everything from drywall and furniture to clothing and personal items are piled on the curb and families are waiting for FEMA or an insurance adjuster to tell them what’s next.
Will the insurance company pay?
Was it only floodwater that damaged their home or was it more than that?
These are all questions that need to be answered.
There is a distinct smell in these homes that I’ll never forget. I call it the smell of death and devastation and it’s very apparent after Hurricane Harvey. Rain water, swamp water, mold and who knows what else, mixed together creates a smell that those who’ve been affected by this storm will always remember. They will pray that what they are able to save from their home will not carry that smell permanently.
Overall, I’ve learned a number of things from Hurricane Harvey. Family and friends will always be top priority and their safety should be the first thing we consider.
Neighbors will become close allies, even if you’ve never previously met them, when it comes to banding together and facing uncertainty.
Watching other humans suffer will leave our psyche scarred forever.
Survivors guilt is real, at least it is for me, and I’m trying to channel it in a way that helps those I love.
And lastly, we are Texans.
Texans come together in time of need and will help each other to rebuild and recover after Harvey.
We’ll never be the same but we are survivors.