My family has been firmly rooted in Texas since pretty much forever. Dad was born on Galveston Island, raised in Houston; Mom also a Houstonian since day one. My 92-year-old grandmother is still the center of our Texas family there in Houston, now with four generations of our greater family surrounding her in neighboring areas.
This last week with Hurricane Harvey has been a tough one to bear from afar. Like all of us, I've wished there was something I could do to help.
The coastal areas of South Texas mean a lot to me personally, as you might imagine. It was here where I spent so many impressionable days outdoors with my Dad, uncles and cousins - hunting for ducks and geese in the rice paddies of Eagle Lake, fishing for speckled trout in Galveston Bay and (unsuccessfully) surfing in the shallow sandy shore break off Padre Island.
Texas has known plenty of disasters throughout history - both man-made and natural. Just before my dad was born in 1947, a fertilizer ship exploded in the port of Texas City, just to the mainland of where my grandparents lived on Galveston Island. And my childhood was filled with countless stories of both my parents' experiences growing up in an area where hurricanes were common. As if to mark time, they even referred to "the season" for hurricanes every year. These disasters came with loss of property, loss of life and ultimately it was the will of those communities to come together, bringing true Texas spirit to endure and move ahead.
Feeling helpless sucks - because this is America, and it's in times like these when we're reminded that we're but one large community. And communities come together to support and assist one another. That's what brings me to the blog today - to ask that you think about giving your money or time to help this community rebound and rebuild.
After some consideration, we at Last Exit chose Team Rubicon to support financially. We think Team Rubicon is incredible and inspiring - they are a group of veterans who continue to use their unique military skills to aid in times of disaster. This will be their largest deployment to date - planning to bring over 1,000 of their team to the coastal Texas area to aid over the coming months. But there are certainly other worthy causes that are also worth consideration, and I hope you do.
I saw something yesterday tweeted out by author Ryan Holiday, and it hit home. He's a practitioner of the ancient Stoic philosophy, and made reference to the famous Stoic thinker Seneca from Ancient Rome. The gist is, "but there for the grace of God, go I."
“Being unexpected adds to the weight of a disaster,” Seneca wrote, “and being a surprise has never failed to increase a person’s pain. For that reason, nothing should ever be unexpected by us.” Remember how easily your life could be disrupted by a terrible tragedy, how quickly you could lose everything. Remember how often history follows the pattern of Rome and Lyons, Houston and New Orleans. In a position to help one day, desperately needing it the next. Prepare for this—mentally and practically. It will make it better. It will also make you kinder.
When you can (if you can), do what you’re able to do to help those in need. Because soon enough you may be asking for the same thing."