Since Hurricane Harvey made landfall, I have been praying for Houston.
I have been captivated by the stories, videos, articles and photos emerging from the storm.
What strikes me is that in the midst of the wind, the deluge, the flooding, the destruction and the desperation, there are slivers of beauty.
There are glimpses of greatness.
Not in the muddy torrents or the wrecked houses or the flooded streets or the floating remnants of peoples’ hard-fought dreams….but in the people and their acts of selflessness, heroism, unity and courage. The efforts of those who tirelessly work to rescue friends, family members, neighbors and strangers alike is high, and it is holy.
Houston is a vivid contrast to the hate-filled protest Charlottesville, the xenophobic rhetoric of the last campaign, the threats against Mexico and the mischaracterization of minorities.
It’s stunning to see strong white men using their muscles to carry people to safety, using their arms to shelter the vulnerable instead of wielding torches in a frenzied effort to reclaim white privilege and power.
It’s amazing to see boat owners use their vessels for rescue instead of recreation.
It’s humbling to watch Mexican marines rushing in to help their neighbors from the North — some of whom have said disparaging, derogatory, demeaning things about Mexico and its people.
It’s heartening to watch people who have a lot — and people who have little — donate what they can to relief efforts.
It’s inspiring to see artists and writers and musicians and photographers using their gifts to raise awareness of those in need instead of garnering attention for themselves.
It’s incredible to see people leveraging their social media accounts to bring attention to those in need instead of bringing attention to themselves.
It’s life-giving to see our focus switch from the number of followers and likes and shares we have to caring instead about the number of people rescued, the number of people who are safe.
It’s remarkable that we’re much more concerned about the amount of money raised for a much-needed cause than the amount of money we have in our checking and savings and 401(k) accounts.
In the midst of this storm, in the chaos and destruction and heartbreak, in the loss and grief and fear that Houston is experiencing today — and will experience for some time to come — I see in our country a glimmer of greatness.
Because what makes us great (as individuals and as nation) is not white supremacy or male dominance or antagonizing our allies or trickle-down economics or obscene wealth or price gauging or travel bans.
Want to make America great again?
Rescue, unify, give, embrace, accept. Speak, support, vote for and continue to do acts of compassion.
Because — as Houston humbly reminds us — what has, does and always will make us great is our capacity to do good.