Perhaps this is a temporary theme in my life right now. Every year, right at this time, there is a sort of uncomfortable and somewhat scary experience with water. Last year’s event had to do with the ocean and life, and this year’s is rain and houses. Last year, I began a journey of self-discovery in the sense of never apologizing for who I am. This is not to say that I shove things into people’s faces – by no means. I must still be responsible for who and how I am, however, I need not change myself or my ways for fear of offense or even not fitting in. In other words, I need not apologize via actual words (e.g. “I’m sorry.”) nor by altering my intended actions (e.g. Suddenly shaving my legs, because it is a cultural standard). I have spent this past year truly learning how to live that in my daily life. And the lesson is certainly not finished, as I continue in it every day. I even fail sometimes, but it happens less and less often, and every instance empowers me, no matter the outcome.
This year, we have a hurricane-turned-tropical storm that has decided to cleanse the Greater Houston Area, and then some. Hurricanes are typical around here at this time of year. However, the amount of rain caused in five days by a particularly bad hurricane many years ago, has been dropped to the Earth in only two days this weekend. And the rain clouds still have another three to five somewhat sedentary days of pouring before they are expected to move along. We have breaks – there’s one right now – in the rain, so that helps with spirits considerably. However, not all of the city is above the 100-year flood plane, as we are here. My sister and her family live in a particularly terrible flooding area, and somehow hitched a ride on a canoe this afternoon, and ended up at a nearby church for safe shelter – her house had what looked like a foot of water inside it, despite its being several feet above the level of the road. Supposedly, as they were all leaving (two other families were in their house, since they had still had power [the floor was still dry at the time], making it around, I’d guess, 13 people, five of them children aged five years and under), the water had reached the base of the stop sign at the corner by her house.
While my sister has done a good job of keeping spirits throughout the day, and even sent out an adorable photo of two of the kids in a super inflatable boat/raft that one might use for tubing, I have wondered what her thoughts are on all of her things in their house. It is quite likely that they will lose a huge chunk of their possessions. In the aforementioned photo, I saw family paintings on the walls, and wondered at them. They have such a huge history with family arguments and disagreements and, I think, even some police involvement. Not those particular paintings in her house necessarily, but paintings by that particular family member. It just had me wonder about the point of it all. Why did they all argue and share so much anger over things that now could disappear so easily from our lives? And then I wonder, “Why do we do that with any material objects?” Anything could be lost at any given moment for this or that reason. Why do we care so much about these objects in the first place?
And so, I wonder if that is this year’s work. It has already been on my mind off and one the past few weeks and couple or few months, and this past year’s topic was the same last year, being on my mind here and there already months before my water incident. And, also like last year, I am granted the option to pursue the idea, to learn by will instead of by requirement or force of any kind. My house and things are safe right now, and are likely to continue to be safe from this entire storm. The question is simply one of how much I am willing to let go of the things that I own. I am scared, but in a very good way.