Received the most heartbreaking email just now. It is one thing to see TV reports of massive flooding and destruction from high winds and storm surge ... but another thing altogether when the victims are people you know and love. Phrases like "no guarantees about power, water, etc. so we have to be prepared to tough it out" ... "our house is wrecked: the entire downstairs wiped out by the storm surge" ... "try to board up what we can, remove as much of the moldy stuff and not go hysterical in the process" ...
I wept like I haven't wept in a long time.
Understand that it's often the head talking, more than the heart, when words such as these are said: "Will have to process, and get on with it ... it could have been worse and we can rebuild ... a lot of people are hurting more, but our situation isn't good and it will take a year or more before we can get back in place probably."
Hearts are hurting very badly now. Hearts cannot really take in all that has happened. Hearts cry out, "Why me?" even when the head knows there's no rhyme or reason to the more violent forces of nature.
Hurricanes like Harvey and Irma rage through relatively quickly, and for the vast majority of us fade very quickly from our consciousness. But even those who escaped the physical violence of the event itself now must deal with an emotional violence that reawakens with the handling of each ruined photograph or the memory of that favorite chair that is now sitting, God only knows where. Those experiences and memories won't soon fade.
The rest of us can pray and encourage, lend a hand or donate money as needed, and remind ourselves, "There but for the grace of God go I."