Seeing the Unseen in Houston

Sharla opened her front door and knew that her family could not stay in their home.

Water rapidly began flooding their street and began making its way inside. There was no way out but by foot. But the water level was too high, too strong, they could not simply walk through… they needed another way.

Thinking fast, Sharla placed her cat in a travel carrier and put her few important items inside an ice chest. She then took the cover of her Jacuzzi off and folded it over to make a raft. Her 13-year-old grandson then held onto it and waded through the flood until they could reach dry ground.

Sharla met me back at their house. Immediate emotion took over as she stared at what was once her home. “I miss this,” she said wiping her tears.

She told me how her family had moved here a mere five months before Hurricane Harvey hit. They worked so hard to make their new home livable before and here it was, completely destroyed inside. With no flood insurance and living on disability, Sharla had no idea what to do next.

She managed to find a motel they could stay in temporarily, but there were no beds. They had nothing. She called some local churches and was able to get some air mattresses that we helped provide for families who lost all their belongings in the storm. 

Sharla has a long road ahead of her. In a matter of days, her whole life was washed out from under her. She’s taking small side jobs just to survive and lays awake at night wondering how she’ll get through tomorrow.

“I won’t give up,” she says. “I’m taking each day at a time.”

I asked her if anyone else was helping her and she silently shook her head no. She shared how alone she feels and how defeating her situation seems. “I’m not going to quit,” she said, though. I could see her strength and determination even amidst her emotion.

It’s a hard place to be in when the world moves on and your life stands still. The news isn’t talking about Harvey anymore, support teams and help have slimmed out, and many are feeling unseen and unheard.

I told Sharla that we see her—that YOU see her—and we are committed to helping her put her life back together.

Thank you for being the people who stay, who won’t stop loving—because we all belong to each other, and it’s our job to care for one another.

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