Reporting from Hurricane Harvey’s Houston

stornFROM FRIDAY: “Preparation for the Storm”

When Harvey was still just a level 1 hurricane out at sea, headed towards the Texan coast yesterday, my community made the decision to head home to Houston from our vacation days to avoid getting stuck or stranded at the beach. When we got back, we found people everywhere getting ready for Harvey.

Julian and I ran to Wal-Mart for some last minute shopping, knowing that once it starts raining later today, we’re not going to be able to leave our home for days. It was only noon, and already the store was stripped of supplies.

The bread isle: completely bare

The eggs: not a carton left

The banana stand: completely empty

Milk: not even 15 gallons remaining

Gas stations around us had signs “out of gas” and were limiting their sales of ice bags.

Everywhere was an intense and frenzied preparation for this storm. Everyone’s total focus and energy was about getting what they needed and to protect what they already had.

Preparation for this storm has made me wonder how life would be different if each person lived and prepared for the other “storms” of life in the same way they are preparing for Harvey.

What about the “storms” we face in our spiritual lives? In our relationships?

What would it look like if we invested the same care, time, and energy into our spiritual lives and our relationships with others?

How would our lives change if our focus was to preserve that “life”- the quality of our love and commitment to God and the people around us?

Ready or not…here they come.

SATURDAY: “I Will Praise You in the Storm”

When fear and worry come in a situation far beyond your control, what do you choose to do?

My community, along with thousands of others, has been homebound the past day and a half because of the flooding caused in Houston by Hurricane Harvey.

And the worst has not even hit us yet.

15 minutes away, right where we used to live, Cypress Creek is overflowing its banks. 20 minutes away there have been tornado touchdowns. Roads are flooded out. Many homes are filling with water. Houston is seeing record levels of flooding. It’s everything you can see on the news, but more personal…when you know the people and the places being affected.

The way my community’s home is built, we’re higher up- so even though the roads and many yards around us are completely flooded out, right now, we are ok. We are dry- safe- and for now still have electricity.

Watching the news, it’s saddening to see how many people are losing everything, all around us. Right now, all we can do is stay put, and wait. And see what happens.

I went to our chapel, to wait and pray there for a bit. These words came to me: “I will praise you in the storm.”

I will praise you in the storm. Here. Now.

Moments like these are when you realize what really matters in life. Everything passing and non-essential suddenly becomes seen in a different way.

I will praise you- even in this moment- because I believe you are still here.

I believe that somehow we will all come together to find a way to help and support the victims of this storm.

And somehow, PRAISE brings hope in the midst of uncertainly and fear. PRAISE gives a flavor of joy- a joy which is deeper than circumstances. PRAISE somehow lifts us- our hearts and lives- from this world to the next.

And so, Lord, I will praise you in this storm.


About Rachel Peach

Rachel Peach is based in Houston. She is from Ohio, and renewed her temporary promises of poverty, chastity, and obedience within Regnum Christi consecrated life on August 18, 2013.
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