“It came about… that the water of the flood came upon the earth… on the same day all the fountains of the great deep burst open, and the floodgates of the sky were opened… The rain fell upon the earth.” ~ Genesis
In my jet lagged state, just back from Europe, I barely even heard the overnight storm. In fact, I probably wouldn’t have if not for my sweet girl climbing into bed with me. Our alarm sounded and we got up for a typical school morning. Opening the shutters as usual and glancing outside, I did a double-take because the scene before me was surreal, to say the least.
I stared out at one murky body of water that covered the street, sidewalks, driveway, lawn, and 3/4 of the front porch. It’s something you really don’t expect to see! There are no limits to Mother Nature, boundaries be damned, and things can shift in an instant.
We quickly turned on the news to learn that our area had gotten 11 inches of rain very quickly and that the bayou that is 2 blocks from our house had overflowed its banks. We looked around and realized that our house was dry by some miracle. Had the water come a tiny bit further, we’d have been hit as well. There are only a handful of homes in our area that are undamaged and we are one of them. How blessed are we??? I am still stunned.
Here’s a video of the local news showing the bayou:
And here’s one of our front lawn:
When we bought our home, we knew we were in a flood plane but were told our house had never flooded because it’s on a sloped incline. In the much-discussed storms of 1983, 2001, and 2008, all this house had needed was a partial roof repair.
The day was filled with sounds of rescue and news choppers overhead, news reports of missing people, and press conferences from our awesome mayor and our governor (don’t know much about him but I hope he’s awesome too). We texted our friends and nearby neighbors to see how they fared. Most were not as fortunate as we were.
Most people had at least 6 inches of water; some had 3 to 4 feet. Over 51,700 in Houston were without power. Many were up all night dealing with the rising water and getting their family somewhere higher up.
Some people ventured out to explore as soon as possible.
My daughter and I waited until afternoon to take a walk, once the water had receded. We found dumpsters in front lawns, street signs far from where they belonged, and just about every home (and car) open to be aired out, with mattresses, furniture, and carpets strewn across front lawns. It struck me yet again how fortunate we are. All I had to handle was an overactive kiddo for the day.
Schools and city offices were closed. Hundreds of cars were flooded and towed away. There has been destructive flooding across the state. Not far from us, there was a tornado that destroyed an apartment complex. And as I write this post, it’s raining and we are under a flash flood warning. I can barely navigate our streets now because of all the repair trucks here to remove water and repair damage.
“There are some things you learn best in calm, and some in storm.” ~ Willa Cather
Completely by coincidence, the topic I’m studying right now in Mussar is order, “seder” in Hebrew. Too little of it can lead to chaos; but too much causes rigidity and control issues (hello me.) As with most traits, it’s best to aim to be somewhere in the middle. In my reading about this, there are a few salient points that come to mind:
- Having most things in order leads (at least for me) to peace of mind. It can help foster a spiritual state of growth. Being religiously observant requires extreme order. External order leads to internal order.
- It’s very counter to the American mindset, but many religions, including Judaism, ask that we be servants of God. In some way, we are asked to put our own needs and desires second and rise above our habits. We must trust that there is a larger plan at work and that it is good and true, regardless of what our personal situation looks like. We are free to choose a different path, but I believe eventually we return to the divine path.
- The universe is organized in intricate and precise systems we are only just beginning to fathom. The specific cycles of time, seasons, and orbits… the growth of specific plants for specific needs… most weather follows patterns and systems.
- What matters most regarding “order” is that even when systems seem outwardly confused, we must cultivate inner centeredness. I believe that the things that matter most have been arranged purposely. It may seem that things are “out of control,” but they occur for reasons beyond our comprehension.
In the face of literally awesome weather, I am humbled. In being spared physical repair work and insurance claims, I am beyond grateful. I can help others who need storage space, freezer space, help clearing out their home. In fact, the only thing I come back to over and over again is that we were spared so that we can help others. So that’s what I’m doing.
I’m part of a Facebook group of mothers in the area and the outpouring of goodwill and support, as always, is amazing. There are so so many who are offering freezer space for perishables (and breastmilk), help with childcare, clothes and toys, spare bedrooms, bags of ice, or simply a helping hand. It’s really really encouraging.
“The best-laid plans of mice and men / Often go awry.” Steinbeck took these famous lines from a 1785 Robert Burns poem and they hold true years later. We build and we rebuild. We organize and we do our best. But Mother Nature carries on.
Thank you to all who have checked on us to see if we’re ok.