As a native Texan, I have a lot to say when it comes to “Texans loving Texans.” Texans simply are the friendliest people in the world. As any native-born Texan knows, we are VERY proud (and loud). I’ve heard people say, “You don’t have to ask somebody if they are from Texas because they tell you within the first minute they meet you.”
My Texas roots started many generations back with great, great grandparents who were born in the small town of Fayetteville, Texas, and generation after generation being born and raised in Baytown, Texas. My cousin’s children and my own children have all been born and are currently being raised in Texas. In the words of my Pape, “There is never a storm too big for Texas!” I think at that time he was referring to other types of storms, but he is still right. Very right.
Hurricane Harvey has proven to be one of the toughest fights for my sweet home state. As many have seen through news stories, pictures, and radio interviews, it may take many years to recover and rebuild from the effects of this hurricane. But, Texans simply do not leave a Texan behind. Texans rise UP to any challenge! After all, we do have bumper stickers with sayings like, “I’m from Texas, what country are you from?” or “I might not be Texas-born, but I got here as fast as I could.” It’s something that gets in your blood—maybe it’s the water we drink or the soil on which our food is grown.
Yesterday, I witnessed Texans loving Texans. This wasn’t the first time I have seen people of all generations, races, and social economic backgrounds coming together to help those in need. Everyone was working together to get supplies from Austin to Houston before sunset. People were separating diapers, hygienic materials, toilet paper, and cleaning supplies; the pallets were lined with water, canned food, baby food, pillows, blankets, and welcome kits.
I am in awe at the sight of all of the welcome kits: Plastic containers filled with the essentials needed upon arrival here in Austin (they are stacking up here at the station). Each kit includes a handwritten note welcoming a stranger to our city. It’s such a humbling example of God’s people lending a hand to someone they will never meet, encouraging them through Bible verses and sharing His glory. We are His hands and feet for those suffering.
While at the Austin Disaster Relief Network headquarters, I took a moment to stop and look around, completely in awe of what neighbors and communities loving each other were doing. It was God’s people loving God’s people. I watched as prayer teams prayed over each other before traveling to Houston with supplies; I witnessed tears as an ADRN volunteer took a $5,000 donation.
During the donation drive, we heard from many survivors—people who had lost hope they would be rescued, or, that they would be rescued but their pet would not. Reports of water moccasins, fire ants (Side note—who knew they floated on water? What? Seriously hard to kill those ants…) and other toxins in the flooded waters. Imagine exiting your home only to be exposed to such horrific conditions. Wading through deep water filled with trash and sewage—Texans do not care. Everybody—the US Navy Sea Combat, Texas Coast Guard, Texas Marines, countless Texas National Guards, US Border Control, Wings of Rescue, and the Mexican government—has been offering help.
Let’s not forget about the everyday heroes—the men and women who just want to lend a hand. Social media has gone nuts with a video taken from a Texas Marine driving past not one, not two, but over thirty trucks with airboats, fishing boats, kayaks, and any type of water device heading to Houston to help search for and rescue their neighbors. Promising to rescue, help, pray, feed, shelter—just the sense of being saved or being held after such an ordeal—is simply Texans doing what Texans do best.
Over the past few days, I’ve witnessed what I already knew to be true: Texas Heart, Texas Soul, and Texas Hospitality. It’s God’s people loving God’s people. It’s Texans loving Texans.
Matthew 22:36-40 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”