Looking Back >The Day After: August 30th, 2005

Day 1

Where does one begin? As we watch the devastation unfold on television, words are insufficient. How does one understand towns that no longer exist or a city that is slowly becoming a lake. How does one comprehend the incredible destruction? We knew it would be bad. But we didn’t expect miles of warzone.

Where does one begin? What is done with 1.4 million people who no longer have a city? What about the thousands of others that had homes washed away or flooded?

I am thankful we left. I am thankful that we can contact family and friends and let them know we are safe. So many cannot do so. We are unable to contact those who fled because cell phones won’t go through. We cannot contact those who remained behind and many cannot call out. Names of friends come to mind and we wonder if they evacuated. If they did not, we wonder if they are okay.

Snippets of stories come in. But news is scarce. The hardest hit areas have not even been visited by news crews. We’ve discovered that text messages are able to go through and Heather has been text messaging friends who remained in the area. Our town was hit hard, but not destroyed. We’re told our house is still standing. But we don’t know the condition of our belongings. And we don’t know when we can go back. How do people go back home, if they even have a home? Roads are impassible, bridges are out. And even if one could get in, gas is scarce at best. There would be no place to buy food, no electricity to cook it with. No way to really begin to clean up and start repairs.

I am thankful we have family that we can stay with.   When we left, we figured we would be gone for a couple of days. We only packed what we needed. We thought we’d be making plans to head back home by now. I wonder about the kids and school. Will we need to register them here? How many of the kids’ teachers lost everything? Are their schools still standing? Heather just started college in Poplarville, a town the storm went right over that we’ve heard nothing about on the news.

Please forgive my ramblings. I’m sure you can understand the myriad of thoughts and emotions that are running rampant. It’s been hard not to be glued to the news. I have tried very hard not to cry, because I’m afraid if I start, I won’t be able to stop.

Aside from worrying about our own belongings, I think of all the ways everything has changed. Life will never be the same on the Gulf Coast. Where does one begin? Not being there, I can only imagine. Part of me doesn’t even want to go back. I don’t want to face the reality of it all.

How does one pray? For strength for all the victims and refugees to go on. For endurance for all the volunteers and rescue workers. For wisdom for the governors and mayors. For miracles waiting to be discovered. So much destruction. So much death not covered by the news. Stories of hope need to be told. Stories of heroism and help need to be told.   People need to know that they are not alone. People need others to come along side and help as they wonder how to begin to rebuild their lives.

Please pray. Thank you for your replies. I’ll continue to try to keep you updated.

Grace & Peace


About Jill English Johnston

God writes His story on every heart, if we only pause to read it. My heart has lived in a fantasy world since early childhood and am delighted that God has finally brought me to the place where I can bring the fantasies to life through story. I am currently working on a fantasy trilogy (of course) but I also post thoughts, reflections and (hopefully) inspiration to my website: tabletsofhumanhearts.wordpress.com I am a follower of the Rabbi Jesus, married to my best friend and inspiration, and the mother of three incredible children, one daughter and two sons, a son-in-love, a daughter-in-love and two adorable granddaughters. When not writing, I passionately pursue prayer, reading (never enough time to read them all!), and the outdoors. My husband and I both served in the US Navy and have lived/travelled through many states and all over Asia. We both still enjoy travelling, but we really love our home in New Braunfels, located at the Texas Hill Country.
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