Is it better to be a victim or a refugee? We decided the latter and fled Katrina’s path to San Antonio. At 1 pm Sunday, Jon and I, along with Bob and Staci Tyo and all our kids, dogs, cats, Guinea pig and bearded dragon (we left the snake) headed north to Poplarville. We stopped by Heather’s college so she could pick up a few things and continued to work our way northwest toward the Louisiana border and then on to Texas. We crossed into Louisiana through Natchez around 8 pm, after spending 2 hours there in bumper to bumper traffic. It was 130 am when we were finally welcomed in Texas by the Jasper volunteer fire department. God bless them, they were out there in the wee hours of the morning, providing coffee, water and Gatorade to travel weary people fleeing the storm. We were told that hotels were filled seven hours into Texas. No worries, since we had beds waiting for us in San Antonio. Of course, San Antonio is five hours into Texas traveling I10. We had traveled a hundred or so miles north and had to head back southwest. After grueling the long early morning hours, we finally hit San Marcus around 8 am and slowly made our way through morning rush hour traffic to arrive at Jon’s parents’ house around 930 am, 20 1/2 hours after we left. Those last 2 hours seemed to last forever and I almost wondered if it would have been better to remain behind and face the wrath of Katrina.
Having had a shower, some food and a bit of sleep, and having viewed the footage on Fox news, CNN and The Weather Channel, I have decided the journey was worth it.
Now the hard part is upon us. The waiting and wondering. We are safe, out of harms way. We bordered up as much as we could, secured our valuables as much as possible, and took our important papers. Of course, now I battle regrets of what I should not have left behind, concerned that those irreplaceable things will be destroyed. We can only trust the Lord that our things are safe and trust His sovereignty, regardless.
In some ways I wish we were there, so I would know and would be able to begin cleaning up. But on another level, I am glad we are here in the air conditioning, with hot water for showers and electricity for cooking. I guess we will have to put up with out those conveniences soon enough. The predictions are dire for how long it will take to restore power. And the devastation will be heart breaking. I do not look forward to the drive back, a journey that will slowly unfold the tragedies of the storm the closer we get to home. In case you are wondering where our house is, find where the eye of the hurricane entered Mississippi (over Stennis Space Center) and look to the eastern edge of the eye wall. That would be about the location of Diamondhead, our town.
Please pray for all the victims and refugees. Pray for strength to sustain us. Pray for protection as we head home and begin to clean up and rebuild our lives.
God bless all those affected by Katrina’s fury.
Grace & Peace