Photo: NOAA Radar
“Oh, can’t you see the morning after? It’s waiting right outside the storm. Why don’t we cross the bridge together and find a place that’s safe and warm?” – “The Morning After.” Composers, Al Kasha and Joel Hirschhorn, recorded by Maureen McGovern for 20th Century Label, 1972.
Nasty, isn’t it? (Not the song, but Harvey.) I write this on Wed afternoon, Aug. 30, 2017 and still historic Harvey continues to dump his rain along the Texas coast and Louisiana. Rain totals continue to be calculated in the trillions of gallons. The mayhem, the destruction of this ravenous hurricane has ripped open the heart and peace of the Texas coast. The healing has already begun.
When Harvey was first named, I immediately thought of the movie by the same name, based on Mary Chases’s play. From Universal Pictures, a sweet 1950 comedy-drama, “Harvey” with James Stewart. It involved a man, a slightly off, yet peaceful man, who claimed he had a close companion named Harvey, a 6′ 3.5″ invisible rabbit. His family, and most of the small town he lived in, accepted this oddity about James Stewart’s character, Elwood P. Dowd. Whenever he introduced Harvey to anyone Elwood seemed surprised about the raised eyebrows and opened mouths displayed during the introduction. Harmless to the core, Elwood explained a bit about himself in a piece of dialogue. (I’ll try to use my best Jimmy Stewart impersonation here.) “Years ago my mother used to say to me, she’d say, ‘In this world, Elwood, you must be’ – she always called me Elwood – ‘In this world, Elwood, you must be oh so smart or oh so pleasant.’ Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant. You may quote me.”
It made you smile, or you smiled on the inside, right? You know why?
Unlike Elwood P. Dowd and his polite invisible associate Harvey, hurricanes tend to be the opposite in nature. Just ask the 20,000+ homeless flood victims of Houston, Port Aransas or Beaumont. Take a look at the floating carcasses of cattle and submerged homes. Far from pleasant or smart.
While watching the radar with hurricane Katrina lodged in my brain, I braced for the worst news and videos to come. I have kept in contact with a few friends and family living in Houston and praying for a good week now for them all. Yet, at the same time I realized there are people just like Katrina and Harvey. You may know one or two yourself. Have you noticed? Allow me to draw a profile for you.
Just like a venomous storm coming ashore, this person feeds on damaging all around you and all above you and all beneath you with a violence unmatched by anything else you have personally witnessed. Words of raging lava erupt and in the spewing, consumes everything good in the path of verbiage. When done and cooled, the flow turns to rock and all loveliness growing under its belly is evaporated away. In fact, you might have noticed this person blows away any goodness of heart in his/her target range damaging reputation, righteousness and personal renovations. Usually in retrospect, through cautious inspection and inventory, you align such an individual as a wrecking ball of demolition against house, home and honor. If a structural engineer could inspect your heart and mind after such, they would deem you structurally unsound, unable to hold up in a strong gust and surge in your future. Dreams, goals, family and lives are crushed and drowned in the flood of a violent, murderous spirit. In this person’s intense overwhelming tide to perform a scorched earth, they will delight, even laugh in the wake. I hesitate to write the following line, but I will. Although I have never been in a hurricane, my life has been wrecked by such a wall of wind and water, so to speak. In fact, twice the surge within its evildoing almost took my life. If it sounds like I am a survivor, I am.
Harvey was devastating to millions of my fellow Texans. The clean up and rebuilding will be tedious and lengthy. Likewise, if you are close to someone like Harvey the hurricane, who enjoys attacking all that Paul lists in Philippians 4:8, my recommendation is…EVACUATE THE AREA! On the other hand, if you find yourself to be a destroyer, I urge you to take the nearest, holiest exit ramp. Ask forgiveness, give aid to your victim and make the u-turn.
“…whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things.” – Paul, Philippians 4:8
Like Elwood, I choose to be pleasant in search for a morning after.
As for Maureen’s song of hope and extended love, “The Morning After”, Harvey the hurricane won’t like the 3rd verse. It is most significant now and it floods us with fuel for the race.
“It’s not too late, we should be giving. Only with love can we climb. It’s not too late, not while we’re living. Let’s put our hands out in time.” – The Morning After