Everything’s bigger in Texas … including our heart and heroism.
I live in Fort Bend County, Texas the most ethnically diverse county in America. My wife Audrey and I, along with our five small children (including 13-month triplet boys) survived an emergency mandatory evacuation and a life-threatening escape which left us no other option than driving our vehicle contra-flow (against traffic) on SW-99 to escape the fury of Hurricane Harvey and the associated catastrophic flooding.
Friday the Brazos river will crest at at a record 100-year high of 56 feet (the river floods at 45 feet). There have been 5,205 rescues in Fort Bend and lives have been lost. The 700,000 people of our county continued to be grieved by the affects of this disaster, but heartened by the love of our neighbors and new friends.
My family is displaced. We are homeless. We do not know when we will return home. Our levee could breach. Our children ask multiple times per day, “Daddy, can we go home NOW?? Please, Daddy!” In the midst of so many uncertainties, what holds us together is the love we feel from so many near and far.
I feel sorry for anyone who was obviously not in the city of Houston and has not experienced the loss and carnage. I feel sorry for anyone who would stoop so low to attempt to poison the well of the good people of Texas and their heroism.
The catastrophic nature of this natural disaster is only matched by the unprecedented outpouring of love, heroism, dedication and effort by thousands of Americans who are risking their lives for the fellow man. Even as hearts have been broken by the flooding, the country is healing as we are all witnessing the sacrificial and selfless spirit of America. Strangers are becoming quick friends. Neighbors are truly becoming neighbors. People are looking out for one another. This is the America I know and the America we all love.
Yet, Politico’s Matt Wuerker cartoon mocks the survivors and insults the memory of the 31 lives lost in the storm and flooding. A Texan being rescued is portrayed in a confederate t-shirt and cowboy hat is not only insensitive, it is utterly racist. Not only is my county the most diverse in America, there are 180 languages spoken in Houston.
What’s more, private citizens are making rescues. BASS Pro shop even gave away boats for SOS operations. The Louisiana Cajun Navy came to our aid! Yes, the government is acting, but even Fort Bend County Judge Bob Hebert said we need all of the help we can get, remarking you might be saved by a federal helicopter or a private citizen on a Wave-runner.
The cartoon goes on to tar and feather Texans as mindless buffoons. “Angels sent by God,” the rescuee is shown saying, and the rescuer responds, “Er, Actually Coast Guard … sent by the Government.”
Texans are offended and hopefully most of America is, too. Of course, Politico deleted the tweet on Wednesday. Yet Wuerker continues to defend his imagery.
As people of faith, we relish James 1:17 that God works through people and “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above!”
When my family was fleeing Fort Bend County, we stopped in Wharton and a Sheriff redirected us from life-threatening flash-flooding. God sent that Sheriff as a gift from above. Our story, and so many others, reflect the goodness of God in the efforts of men and women of every race, creed and color.
Tragedy is a part of life, but it is how we respond to our tragic experience that reveals our true character.
I feel sorry for anyone who was obviously not in the city of Houston and has not experienced the loss and carnage. I feel sorry for anyone who would stoop so low to attempt to poison the well of the good people of Texas and their heroism. These hate-mongers are dark people and they deserve our prayers.
If you visit Houston or South Texas today, you will see every ethnicity helping one another, hugging each other, protecting one another. Our church, Houston’s First Baptist, has adopted a motto in this tragedy, “As the waters recede, love will rise,” and that is exactly what we are experiencing. Love first and always, but speak out against hate.
Sigmund Freud, the father of psychoanalysis, pointedly disagreed with our Christian ethics, especially the idea that all of humanity should be loved, “Not all men are worthy of love,” Freud wrote in 1930.
Many years earlier, Jesus said, “Do to others as you would have them do to you” (Luke 6:31).