I caught sight of this photograph on my fridge tonight as I was getting milk for my coffee. I had been considering how thankful I was for these things: Milk. Coffee.
We were beyond fortunate in Hurricane Harvey. No water in the house, power, and food. When I saw this picture, another wave of thankfulness extended for my husband. This is my ode to my husband in the hurricane.
You need to know about the back story of this photo. We had just left the reception, where my friend Rob (not to be confused with my husband Rob) played the bagpipes as we walked across the street to the hotel.
Our reception was a blur, but a happy happy happy one. I feel like the word “joy” describes our wedding well. And joy as we walked to the hotel for our first night to spend together. EVER. That’s a very personal detail, but one that I think matters in our grander story.
Just before the elevator doors closed, Rob’s uncle appeared in them. Completely by accident. And before the doors closed, he asked to take a photo. THIS is that photo.
I love the picture and its story. And I love that, 14 years and some months later, this photo holds true to who we are.
We are older, yes. Wiser…probably. Just as joyful? Most days, yes.
Two nights ago, we realized that in half an hour, water had traveled twenty feet up our sidewalk and lapped at our front door. It moved SO FAST.
We went from slightly concerned about the heavy rains to the realization that in moments, our house would flood. With the sound of rain and the rushing water outside in the yard, we rolled up our carpets, tied up the curtains, and moved books and valuables from low shelves to high. About all you can do, really.
I’m a worst-case-scenario person. My husband is an optimist. We are still navigating this in our marriage.
I can easily bring him down with all my doom. But I have to remind him that I’m not WORRYING. I just have to think about the worst thing that could happen so I consider it in my mind. And consider what I might do about it.
I have plans for being attacked by alligators and sharks. For car accidents. For all the things.
And I had considered the worst that could happen in this moment. Things that did happen, just not to us. Families swept away in their vehicles. Children separated from parents in the rescue. People trapped in attics. Everything lost.
That was not our story and we feel grateful and undeserving.
But in those moments where the water was rising and we were going back door to front and inflating a raft just in case, we did not know. So we played praise music and did all the work we could do. We laughed, as crazy as that sounds. He wore a Superman onesie as he put towels and trash bags by the door.
At one point, I stopped him in the hallway. “One day, this is just going to be part of our bigger story,” I told him. “Whatever that looks like.” And it is.
Marriage in the Flood
The years have been good. The years have been hard. We have so many children right and so many dogs. We have had many nights of water lapping at the doors, so to speak. Uncertainty, trouble, suffering, sadness, loss.
In the moments like these, though, in the very flood– it’s all about the person beside you.
We don’t know about the coming days or weeks or months in our small town of Katy or our larger city of Houston. The waters are still rising in many places. My parents had to evacuate today, Tuesday. The car that they abandoned in the flood waters on Sunday? Stolen.
As I write this, our children and dogs are sleeping. Rob is watching a movie next to me on the couch, no idea that I’m writing about him. Helicopters are still flying at almost midnight, delivering supplies or rescuing stranded people. School is cancelled this week, likely longer.
So much is uncertain.
In addition, Rob’s job ends this week. He has been a youth pastor for ten years. As of this week, he is working with a company that replaces roofs.
This is an awkward and terrible fact: business will be good after a hurricane.
We have talked about this and how odd it is. It’s scary to move into this new job. He needs to finds roofs to replace. We are literally moving from a salary to a commission-based business. He NEEDS business.
Yet it is so HORRIBLE to think about profiting (even just to pay our bills!) in this time. He has seen other roofing companies on the news, out in the areas where tornados hit on Saturday.
They are drumming up business. It’s a business people NEED. This is not wrong. “Should I be out there?” he asked. Yes? No?
We talked about what HE should do tomorrow. He isn’t going to go post flyers everywhere or try to sell people on a new roof, even if they need it. He’s going to serve how he can and take our boys to help. Carrying rugs to the curb or picking up tree branches. Whatever this looks like. He will have cards with his number. But he is going to SERVE, not SELL.
Let me say again– it isn’t wrong that people are out selling roofs and things people need. The timing just feels wrong right now to HIM.
If I haven’t mentioned it yet, I am proud to be married to this man.
In the middle of this flood and disaster, we are walking our story together. An optimist and a worst-case-scenario-ist. Bound together by belief in a God bigger than both of our outlooks.
And holding together with joy, even as the water laps at the door and as the sun comes out the days after the hurricane.