Thursday, September 18, 2008

After Ike

Well, it’s been a long, long time. I’m sorry that I’ve not been updating the blog more regularly but I’ll try to fill you all in on what’s going on here in Houston.

Our course, giving you some insight to what’s happened here in the last week could take a while. Really, without being overly dramatic, the city and the surrounding areas are just very badly shaken. It’s unnerving to drive around and see the scope of the damage to property, nature and human lives. People from all walks of life are just meandering in a sort of daze – but trying to keep their spirits up. Most of them are out on a mission. Finding a gas station with a supply and the electrical power to pump it. Finding a station where the wait is less than an hour. It seems that keeping fuel in the tank brings some sort of security to us all. It’s odd, I admit. I try to dismiss it and not analyze too much but when my gas gauge gets near the half way point, I have to say, it’s, well, it’s just weird.

There are pockets of the city – and the pockets are no respecters of class or stock portfolio - where the power has been off since last Friday evening. It’s one thing to drive past during the day and sense the stillness of a once beautiful neighborhood, but quite another to pass through at night. It’s dark and still. Most of the residences are vacant, the owners off to stay with friends or relatives or perhaps, off to a second home in the hill country.

Others that live more normal lives simply have to make do. They spend their days trying to accomplish some simple task. Finding groceries, a restaurant, another gas station.

It’s strange that a city of four million people can be brought to it’s knees by a single force of nature. It’s aftermath magnifies the size of this community. It shows the gigantic scope of it’s business and commerce. I can’t imagine anyone will ever be able to put a price on what was lost and continues to be lost today.

It’s interesting to me that we’re all quick to try and estimate the price of the loss. It’s some sort of twist in the nature of a human, I think. It might say something about what we value. It might suggest that we shift the once important, prioritized items to a lower place on our list. Material things that can be so quickly snatched from our tight hold might not be worth all the energy it takes to protect them. Just sayin’.

The broken record in me still plays “Be thankful, be thankful, be thankful.” And I am. I am unharmed, for the most part, as are all those I love. Unharmed except that my heart aches at the constant sight of tragedy. It’s literally everywhere you look in Houston.

I’ve not ventured too far from here. There is comfort in staying close to home right now. Watching things unfold around me. Lending a hand when I can. A kind word. A sympathetic question? An ear.

And there is mild humor in some of it. It’s still funny to me to watch the televison and hear them tell where relief and aid are going to be set up today. They’re doing a good job, I suppose, but the people that need most of the information they’re dispensing aren’t watching TV – no power! “Go to our website and get info on this or that.” Uh…again, I can’t go to your website if my wall plugs are dead. In 2008, it’s still a good idea to go to Radio Shack and spend ten dollars on a battery operated radio.

Humor and danger mixed together at intersections that used to be governed by traffic lights. Now, four-way stops all over this big city left to the imaginations of a dozen drivers at once trying to determine when it’s “my turn” without adding a car accident to the list of disappointments and stressors today! It’s entertaining in a sick sort of way, I suppose to observe the nature of a human hurrying through a dangerous intersection to get to – where – an open McDonalds? It just seems to be very important to keep moving – make progress toward anywhere or anything. Interesting creatures.

Then, you try to make sense of it all from a spiritual point of view. The Bible says the rain falls on the just and the unjust. So, you see one place spared and another crushed. One church untouched and another disabled. I don’t know. I’m not sure things work like that. I don’t know.

One story told of a couple that left home and took shelter with a relative only to be killed by a tree that fell on them in what they thought was a safe place. What does “safe” mean?

It will be months and maybe years before some parts of the gulf coast are back in order. Parts of it will never come back. Or at least not like before. You have to live with change and believe that change is ok. That it’s cleansing, though painful

So how do you and I pray? We prayed for God to calm the storm before it reached land on Friday. It was only a Category 1 storm but still wrecked this part of the world. What would have happened if it had been a Cat 5? We prayed for mercy and found it. We prayed for survival and did. But what about those, at last count 50, people that didn’t survive?

Fall on your knees and say “thank You” with me.

Thank You that you are Sovereign over life and death, You are still God and I am not. Thank You that I don’t have to know everything. Thank You that You are trustworthy even when I don’t see it. Thank You that nothing can separate me from the love of God. “Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution or famine or nakedness or peril or sword?” (Romans 8:35) Nothing.

So in this mess and this upheaval – in this major disturbance and inconvenience, God is unshaken and unmoved from His course of a severe mercy and unimaginable love.

Wayne Watson
September 18, 2008


Ben said...

Thanks Wayne, for taking the time, and excellent insight/writing.

Anonymous said...

Hey Wayne,
You shopped in my store on The Strand in Galveston a few months ago before "Ike" and bought a few shirts. I was honored to have
you as a customer. Unfortunately,
my store took in over 8 feet of
water and it destroyed everything and put me in debt. All I can say is,
God has a plan for everyone, including me. I'm not bitter. I'm
a little anxious and curious about
what lies ahead, but I'm listening to your new CD tonight and thinking
about the comfort and peace I have
in Jesus. It's all good. My journey has really taken a new turn
and I've been awaken. What's next?
I don't know. All I know is that
God is good and perfect and faithful to His promises that He will never forsake us.
Thank you, Wayne, for your faithfulness and inspiration and
insight to hope. We all need it.
God Bless you....Doug