Dear Texas

The Texas National Guard work with local law enforcement to rescue residents and animals in Cypress Creek on August 28, 2017. Image from the US Department of Defense.

Nobody asked for Hurricane Harvey. But the people of the United States stand with you during this catastrophe.

Our hearts are breaking for you right now.

FYI, I don’t like you very much. Your climate is far too warm for my liking, and you are very big as a state.

Also, while I’ve met some perfectly nice people from Texas, you also happen to home to some individuals I’ve met and dislike most. (It may have something to do with the aforementioned bigness.)

But whatever personal offenses you might have committed against me, nothing has warranted this destruction and catastrophe that has befallen you this week.

Here in Cook County, Illinois, I’m far removed enough from the scene to not feel the impact of the disaster that has swept through Houston and beyond.

And I have no skills and no equipment that would be of any use; I am not trained in disaster recovery, first aid, or emergency response, and I don’t own any boats, kayaks, or other things that might be able to help.

If I went down to Houston tomorrow, I’d probably just end up as yet another person who needs rescuing, taking valuable recovery time from other people who didn’t choose to go there.

So I keep reading the news coming out of Texas, and my heart breaks a little bit more every time.

People have died; communities have been flooded; homes have been destroyed. It’s not easy. It’s not going to go away quickly. And if Hurricane Katrina has taught the United States anything, it’s that the recovery following such a widespread disaster is going to take a long, long time.

But for those of you who are losing hope in the American Dream, here’s a tiny spring of faith: Houston is, truly, what it means to be America.

To the people of Texas: it sucks. I believe you. I hear you. I won’t try to dismiss your feelings, your pain, or your suffering by pretending that I can understand. I don’t, and I selfishly hope that I never will.

But my heart goes out to Texas tonight, and for the first time in a while, I truly believe we can show the world what it means to be the United States of America.

Hey, Texas, also FYI: the nation’s response to Hurricane Harvey is why the United States is the greatest country in the world.

Please support the victims of Hurricane Harvey in any way you can. NPR has compiled a list of different ways you can help.

If you are affected by Hurricane Harvey, Google is providing crisis resources information: Take care and stay safe.