As I sit down to write, my heart is heavy. At this very minute, people I love are getting into boats and floating away from their homes to safety. My family is trapped inside their home and neighborhood, watching and praying for the rain to stop. Southeast Texas is under water and Hurricane Harvey shows no signs of letting up. I grew up on the coast and have lived thru many hurricanes, but this one is unlike all the rest. This one didn’t come to pass; it came to stay. And as the rain and wind beats down 400 miles away, I dig down into my own soul and ponder the permanence of things. All the destruction and loss reminds me why the Lord tells us in His word that this earthly home is temporary and all things shall pass away. It is only the souls of man that will remain.
This all feels so heavy on my heart because while my friends and family are facing the threat of losing their homes, we are building ours. The first house together for Husband and I. It is also the first home I have ever purchased so this all feels so big. It also might explain my minor freak-out today when the brick was being installed and it looked NOTHING like I remember from the picture. There has been so much prayer and excitement and discussion and planning as we walk thru this process. From brick to granite (oh granite, you tricky, tricky beast) to paint colors and garage size, all of these decisions feel so permanent. But they aren’t. It’s all just temporary.
Matthew 6:19-21 tells us “Do not store up for yourselves treasure on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy and thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treausure is, there your heart will be also."
A few hours ago, I watched a video of my parent’s street filled with flood waters. All the houses have water up to the rafters with only a rooftop peeking out here and there. The home I grew up in and all the things in it are gone. The only photos of my grandparents who have been dead 20+ years are gone. The 1976 Triumph Spitfire my dad has spent the last 10 years restoring is gone. My great-grandmother’s antiques are gone. The trinkets and treasures of our shared family history are gone. That 1990 wallpaper in the foyer is gone (thank you, Jesus). As I type, my parents have a few clothes, their dogs and a notebook containing their will. That is all. My heart is broken and I am finding it hard to breathe. The grief feels too big to even look at yet.
We like to believe the things we build here on earth have some permanence. But they don’t. It is only the legacy we build through the people we love well that matters. The things simply serve as a reminder of a moment in the story of our lives. The real story is the people. The real story is love. Love without merit is when we are most like Jesus. When we call out things in people that they don’t see in themselves, we build something that lasts. When we step out of our world and show up for somebody in need, we are building people who feel seen and known. You know what people do when they feel seen and known? They drop insecurity, pick up confidence and then go out and change the world.
Enjoy the things, but build the people. Tonight my people are all safe and dry and my heart bursts with gratitude for that fact. We won’t all be together again for at least a week. Roads must dry out and gas stations must refuel. But as I live in the gap, I will pray, I will cry and I will gather as many supplies as my Honda will hold. Then I will head south 6 hours to help clean up all the things and help rebuild some people.