I was recently watching one of my favorite TV shows that’s filmed here in the Houston area. The second season of “The Book of John Gray” is filmed during, and immediately after Hurricane Harvey, which took place in August and September of 2017. Just watching the previews brought back all of the tears, anxiety, and fear, that week filled my soul with. It was so hard to relive which I didn’t expect at all, I thought it would be hard, but not as hard as it was. I had the tears rolling down my cheeks within the first 5 minutes of the season premiere. 

See, what people that don’t live here understand is, what we lived through was not expected, nor was it prepared for. We prepared for a “bad” storm, we prepared for a temporary moment in time that would be “uncomfortable” for a little while. We did not prepare for a life-altering week that would forever change the very fabric of this city and all who lived through it. Even now, it all seems like a bad dream, that just will not go away.  

It was an 800-year flood, meaning, we have never seen one like this before and will not likely see one like it again. Our circumstances were dyer, and with every minute that passed was more serious than the one before. I prayed for the rain to stop…I begged for the rain to stop, but it just kept coming. What the world saw on the news was not even close to what we were experiencing in real life. Here we are 8 months POST Harvey and we are still dealing with the aftermath. They don’t report that the families within hundreds of miles of Houston in every direction are still struggling, and most are STILL homeless. They don’t report on the families that lost everything; homes, jobs, belongings, family members, memories, and the families that are left destitute because of this one storm. No one reports on the MOUNDS, upon MOUNDS, of people’s lives, now considered “just garbage” that lined EVERY SINGLE STREET in this area. Just imagine, everything you worked your entire life for, gone, within hours, and some within minutes. You have nothing left! NOTHING! No reports about the horrid smell that lingers in the air, in certain places, even after 8 months. The putrid smell of rotting garbage, mold, and stagnant water that I now associate with death and destruction.  

This picture brings back the peaceful feeling that I associate with my home, it brings back the peace that I had before Harvey stole it from me. It is the comforting feeling that I took for granted until Harvey reared his ugly head and ripped it from all of us. It is the feeling of peace and gratitude that I will never take for granted, ever again. It is the resilience and determination of the Texan spirit that lives in all of us that live here. It is the reassurance that through every storm no matter how big, or small, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. This is the confirmation that we will rise again and be better than before. 

For me, this picture is peace, resilience, and that the will to survive is greater than the will to give up and die. No matter how many times we get knocked down, we WILL get back up. As in all of my writings, Galveston is my peaceful place, the city is alive and has a soul of its own. It’s that one place that when I pull in, a sense of peace comes over me and fills my soul with happiness, and everything in the world is right again. This picture represents how I feel when I am home. It’s the peaceful feeling most never find and if I only have it for a mere season more, I have accomplished everything I set out to accomplish. 

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