It’s been one week since we moved home.
I’ve been trying to find the words to write about coming home. And what came next.
So this post is for all of you in case you’re okay after Hurricane Harvey (or Hurricane Irma or any other major disaster).
My best friend voxed me one week ago today to help me understand survivor’s guilt. And how people survive it by choosing to do something to be helpful. And she knew that is what I had sprung into action to do – cooking, laundry, organizing drives, etc.
Then she said this:
I just want to give you the permission to take the next few days, now that you’re back in your own home, you’re on an island, you can’t come and go, for you guys to stay in your home and literally crash for two days so you can function next week. Don’t feel guilty about that. Everyone knows you are going to get in there and help. So if you need a couple of days to exhale in a way you haven’t been able to do for eight days, DO THAT. You’re both feeling run down. You haven’t been eating well. You haven’t been sleeping. This stress builds up. I want you to have the freedom to know that it’s okay to be home. You are not a terrible person if you are not at a shelter this weekend or ripping out carpet or doing someone’s laundry. Get yourself in a place where you can physically and mentally be there for others. God is going to use you in the coming months, but take the next few days to recover from the shock of all you’ve gone through. I’m giving you permission.
I broke down, again. I was so very tired. But the fact that I was home made me feel like I couldn’t rest because others didn’t have the choice to go home.
I really needed to rest. So I did help coordinate some giving. And I baked, a lot. Muffins and cookies which we bagged and distributed on our street. (You all probably remember though baking is therapeutic for me.)
But I also unpacked our things. I swept. I’m fairly certain I didn’t wake up until 8 am which may be a record post-kids. We went to church Sunday morning and thanked God for being spared and asked Him to use us to help. We took the kids to an Astros baseball game for their friend’s birthday. Then, Sunday night, one of the biggest gifts was having a community dinner at our darling Alicia’s house. Our flood host/rescuer hosted a neighbors dinner and we ate and the kids played and we exhaled. It was perfect.
Monday we began the work. I gathered donations and the kids and I went to the church store to volunteer. Bray has been gutting houses every day since Monday. I’m praying he doesn’t get one of these icky infections going around because all these amazing volunteers are going into pretty treacherous conditions.
In between actually working for my job this week, we tried to reach out to those affected and figure out where we could help. Who needed a meal or a gift card. That is still a work in progress because of traffic challenges here. While we got our cars out of the driveway Wednesday (earlier than expected!), many roads around our community are still closed with standing water.
We still feel a little disjointed. Helicopters continue to fly over our streets and there’s still a boat launch at the back of our neighborhood to reach some homes. More streets are visible though and lawn crews and trash trucks reappeared.
Today, we are praying for Florida. And Mexico. And all those who stand in uncertainty today. We thank you each for your prayers over our family and ask you for your continued prayers for our neighbors.