“Mom, can you put in the Turbo movie?” I hear from the back seat. “Yes, of course, another movie coming right up!” So the drive goes, my third, actually, this drive from Nashville back to Houston, this time to stay, and perhaps begin our school year for the second time.
As moms, we honestly do more than we imagined we ever could. Do you agree? No matter if it is tragedy, natural disasters or even the occasional stubbed toe or nose bleed, we are there to make sure our little ones are taken care of and protected. Sometimes we are running on nothing more than adrenaline, vast amounts of caffeine and a goal, but we continue to push. Because they are worth it.
Notice I said my third drive. Yep. Let’s back up to the first drive. News of Hurricane Harvey hit me while I was in Nashville on a business trip. After I heard that Harvey’s torrential rain was coming straight for Houston, I knew I needed to go. So I left. And began the first 855 mile trip to Houston, choosing to drive in case my flight was cancelled.
I found myself on that first drive, with nothing but adrenaline, audio books from Cracker Barrel and a mission. A mission to protect my home, get my kids and get out of town. “Sandbags? Check. Heavy duty plastic? Check. House secured? Check. Clothes for everyone? Check. I pick up the children from their dad once I arrive, throw all of our stuff in our car, (including our favorite Power Ranger movies like Turbo!) and we were on our way, retracing those same now familiar interstate highways.
We arrive in Nashville the day Harvey visited Houston. The rains came, and with it the devastation that so many have experienced. We have all paid a price. For some we lost our homes. For others we lost our cars, our jobs and some even their lives. We were all awakened to the danger that natural disasters can bring. For me it was driving 2,655 miles, a total of three trips between those two cities. Sure, it was tiring. Sure it was hard balancing it all, work, life, kids. However, you and I, we’ve had a lot of practice. We’ve all had practice at growing courage.
Each of us faces challenges in life. No matter the circumstances, I’ve learned that life is not about attaining the so-called “good life”. It’s really about attaining the character traits that change us. I don’t become more patient when everything is given to me on my timetable. I don’t become more giving the wealthier I become. I certainly do not become more loving the more people love me.
No, we grow in the hard times. We grow in patience when we pray for something for so long, then lay it in God’s hands, wait and finally rest. We give when we ourselves have lost everything. We become more loving when we forget about ourselves entirely and love others like crazy.
We were lucky. Though this picture of my cul-de-sac (taken the third and final time it completely flooded) shows a dire situation, the water never entered any of the homes that sit around this cul-de-sac, including ours. Others across the street were not so lucky, as Cypress Creek washed out every home on street after street of that neighborhood.
You know, it’s not easy driving 2,655 miles. It’s certainly not cheap. It’s not easy being a first responder, and working for days on end to rescue people. It’s not easy being a single mom. It’s sure not easy to start your life completely over with your family and a gofundme account to rebuild a home rotted by floodwater. But we do it. We do it because devastation and tragedy has an interesting way of growing our courage and our belief in ourselves and one another.
So keep pressing ahead. Keep loving, keep sacrificing and keep dreaming. Keep fighting the good fight of faith, as Paul says. I have learned through tragedy that I don’t want the easy life. I want the life that makes me unstoppable because of my battle scars.
What makes you weary and discourages you from pressing ahead?