It was today that I was truly hit by Rita. It hit at about 6:30 AM and it came in the form of an AIM profile that went something like this…
Please keep my family in your thoughts and prayers as they live in Matagorda and it is in the direct path of Rita.
This was what broke me this morning….it made it all become real….
Katrina was a very sad situation. And it’s even sadder that that situation is going to be pushed aside and overlooked for a while now with the new girl on the block, Rita. I can only imagine the thoughts going through the many Katrina survivors’ heads, as MANY of them are still going without many needs. For the next few days I can see them reliving the days immediately following the catastrophe—feeling ignored.
And while I do not want to diminish the event of Katrina, I will state that you can’t fully feel the impact of a situation like that unless you are directly involved with it in the sense that it either happened to you, or it happened to someone you know, or you dedicated your time to aiding to those who experienced it. And as ashamed as I am that I have not worked directly with any of the victims, I do realize the blessing I have in knowing how lucky my friends and family were that no one I know was a victim. This is what makes Rita different for me….
Rita has “hit home.” Though she is still amidst the waters of the gulf, Rita has already caused enough “hell” in the lives of many. Evacuating is no walk in the park physically, but even more, the toll it can take on an individual mentally is no piece of cake.
And though I knew from the first day that I heard Rita was coming and going to hit southern Texas that I had many friends in the Houston area, I was still truly under the impression that evacuations of Houston would not be necessary. I mean I figured southern Houston might possibly be advised to move north, but I wasn’t thinking northern Houston would be of any concern. I’m thinking…. “oh okay, they’ll get some nice thunderstorms, but nothing more than a good hard down pour and some pretty lightening if you’re lucky.” I’m just that ignorant about hurricanes…
So when I saw the message on AIM this morning it really hit me that, “hey, you have friends that this is totally going to be affecting!”
As I drove to my internship at 7 AM all I could think about was how I have plans for a friends’ get-together for Friday night and I’d be sitting around an apartment, having a good time with some great friends, making dinner, chilling, and at about dinner time we would be having a good time and my friends from Houston would be in the eye of a hurricane.
It’s hard to think about. I immediately wrote myself a note to call my friends to check on their status of their hurricane preparation steps this afternoon between my internship and class time (because I sure wasn’t going to call them at 7 AM…I DO want them to still be my friend!)
So at 4:45 PM, I called one friend to hear her say, “I’m driving” in response to my “what are you up too?” I was shocked to hear she was evacuating as she lives in about the furthest north part of Houston there is. It become even more real then….
As she explained to me the “hellish” journey of trying to evacuate, involving gas situations and 3 mph crawls along the interstate, I couldn’t help but feel helpless. And as one who easily disguises her fear, she refused to let me note any sense of fear or panic from her. But I was still frightened for my friend, though comforted in the feeling of knowing she was getting out…
I then called another friend…
It was so hard to hear the fear in her voice as she explained that though she wanted to leave, she would be staying and sticking it out. It hurt me to hear her cry to me as she explained she is frightened not knowing what to expect….
I’m scared for my friends and my family (I have a second cousin—who is pregnant, and her husband that live on the SOUTH side of Houston. My uncle just told me tonight that they contacted them to invite them to come stay with us, but they said they were going to stick it out too).
I don’t know, but when I’m close to my friends I can truly feel for them, especially when you know they are in fear. I call it my E.T. scenario. Like how Elliot and E.T. were linked in a sense that when one felt sick the other did, and when one got drunk the other felt it. Well, I know how like in times when my friends are having to give a big presentation in front of our class or like in Chapel and I know they are nervous, I get just as nervous as they do sitting there as I watch them because I feel for them in a sense.
I’m scared not knowing what my friends have to expect. None of us know what Rita could do….
I can honestly tell you I haven’t felt a strong desire to pray in over a year now, but all day today the feeling was almost overwhelming. It goes back to something I mentioned a few blogs ago about how while I might not believe in praying, I know my friends do, and I know in this time, they are in need of it, so though I haven’t brought myself to my knees yet, I think it is only a matter of time.
Though feeling so helpless, I can tell you one thought that is going through my head, and it is this…
I plan to request upon my friends at our gathering tomorrow night if we can either pray or at least take a moment to think about our friends and family who will be in the middle of Rita’s powers at the very moment we are about to eat dinner…