I met Jim (not his real name) in the camp set up for those who had nothing before Harvey. The hurricane was just the most recent horrible event for him. In the past five weeks his mother had died, he was evicted from his apartment, was dropped in the camp, and survived Harvey. His childhood and adolescence were successions of various physical and emotional abuse and neglect, yet he was holding on to the sometimes elusive thing we call hope. He mostly wanted someone who would listen to him. He honored me with his story.
Jim is one of those who, despite his history and succession of losses, holds onto the hope that life will get better. He holds onto the hope that he will get better.
There are others that I have been privileged to encounter and interact with. The high school coach who brought students from a rival school to hand out food and drinks because they wanted to do something that made a difference for those who lost in the hurricane. The restaurant owner who gave out thousands of good Texas barbecue dinners to his neighbors at no cost, and who continues to provide good, free dinners to first responders. The couple that stopped us at the traffic intersection to ask where they could volunteer; and on and on and on….
I am here with my team to provide emotional support for victims of Harvey. What I find are people who have put their lives on hold to help others. I have to continually remind myself that my role is to be a support; to be a part of a much larger community of caring, concerned, resilient people from all over this country: from Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Georgia, Minnesota, Wyoming, Canada, and so many other places. People who are proud to call each other friends.
Dr. Bill McGee