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THE STRONGER THEWIND, THE STRONGER THE TREES
A YEAR IN PERSPECTIVE
The past year was one marked by rebuilding. At the end of August, 2017, Hurricane Harvey blew through our region of Texas. We ended up getting hit pretty hard, and the office where I work was surrounded by water. It was basically on an island. Needless to say, we were fortunate. Many other homes and businesses in the area weren’t nearly as lucky. A lot of people lost everything. Their homes filled with water that damaged just about everything they owned. As it all unfolded, I was not at home. Just before Hurricane Harvey pushed through Texas, my dad passed away, so we went up to his funeral in Kansas City. Due to the disaster, we couldn’t return home to Texas for two more weeks. Between my dad’s funeral and watching the hurricane unfold on TV, I realized just how important it is to cherish the time we have with our loved ones. My dad was 70, and he had been battling cancer. These events put everything into perspective. When I did get back to Texas, the hurricane was over, but the destruction it left behind was still very much present. I got right to work assisting others where I could. I helped people gut their homes and carry their entire lives to the curb to be hauled away by a garbage truck. Family pictures, heirlooms, and furniture — everything had to be hauled away. Given the perspective I brought back with me from Kansas City, I saw how fragile everything was. When you live through something like that, it’s hard to know what to do. You want to keep the stuff you’re comfortable with and everything that was a part of your home. But you can’t. The flood waters had turned toxic and permeated everything. Now, over a year later, I find myself in awe as to how quickly everyone has rebuilt and moved forward with their lives. The natural disaster was a monumental challenge, and it’s a testament to how amazing and resilient people can be. They never expected to lose everything. We live far enough inland that we don’t often think about being in danger. It’s easy to take for granted what we have.
At the end of it all, we’re all stronger for it. It reminds me of a poem by Douglas Malloch, a poet who lived from the late 1800s into the early 1900s. He’s known as the “Lumberman’s poet” because he was the associate editor for a publication called American Lumberman. In one of his most famous poems, “Good Timber,” Malloch writes, “Good timber does not grow with ease: The stronger the wind, the stronger the trees.” People are a lot like good timber. We face challenges every day. Some are small and come and go quickly. Other hurdles are big and stay with us for years. These are the challenges that help shape who we are. Thankfully, this year as we rebuilt, we were spared during hurricane season, and our thoughts go out to everyone who was affected. Following a disaster, the holiday season can be especially tough for many people. But again, people are remarkably resilient. I’m grateful I get to go home to my family and spend Christmas with them. On Christmas Day, the kids will wake up Mom and Dad, and we’ll all gather to read a passage from the Bible, pray, and talk about what it is we’re grateful for. We’ll open presents and have breakfast. Then we’ll just spend the day together. It doesn’t get any less complicated than that, which makes it all the more special.
From all of us at Mometrix, and from my family to yours, I hope you have a merry Christmas, happy holidays, and a wonderful New Year.
–Ja y Willi s
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