Teach me, Professor Harvey

The lessons from this latest hurricane, for those who want to learn, are many. Teach me, Professor Harvey…and the good people of Texas. I’m listening.


This lesson is one of the hardest for me to learn. I’ve been in remedial classes for years. It’s SO EASY and so tempting to see a picture or read a headline and IMMEDIATELY respond as if I know enough of the situation to call something right or wrong, smart or dumb.

‘Why are they still in their homes? They should have evacuated.’

‘This popular pastor was being unChristian in not immediately opening his megachurch for shelter.’


In all fairness to myself, I didn’t actually respond to the hurricane this way but it wouldn’t be out of character for me. And perhaps the reason I didn’t is because I have not been as engaged with the tragic unfolding of this disaster as I should have been. Which leads me to my next lesson.


I’m an introvert and prefer the semi-solitary life with only occasional socializing. You would rarely find me at community picnics and the like. But of the many things that Harvey highlights, the benefits of community stand out as perhaps the brightest. Where would those stranded in their flooded homes be without neighbors from near and far coming to their aid? We need each other and our lives are fuller when we get involved in the lives of others, and allow them to get involved in ours. Even if it’s only across the miles via Facebook.


I think it’s safe to say that those Texans with flooded homes AND flood insurance are sure glad they invested a little extra for that additional protection. That’s not to say that those with flood insurance whose homes were spared the rising waters regret their investment. Being properly prepared for an uncertain future can be risky in terms of time and money possibly being wasted. But, we’re taking a much greater risk if we’re not.


Be intentional about determining what’s most important in your life. The sight of homes and material possessions being destroyed in a matter of hours testifies to the wise of where items of impermanence should go on our list. The thought of losing a loved one should put them at the top. And when we recognize that our personal love relationships have the privileged position of top priority, our decisions on where to invest our time and money are more easily made.


Finally, we prioritize people because we are more than matter…more than physical bodies evolved from lower life forms unguided by any intelligent being or force. We are spiritual beings in a physical body…a body that will eventually deteriorate and die…but our spirits live on. The connection that we have with others cannot be described or understood in purely physical terms. It is of a spiritual or “soulish” nature…I think we all innately recognize that. And if we are both body and soul, why should we expect that when the body dies the soul necessarily does as well?

If it’s reasonable to believe that “I” am not my body but the spirit that inhabits it, and because a spirit is not mortal and affected by physical laws it is likely immortal and eternal…shouldn’t we prioritize eternal matters?

These are only a few of the lessons Harvey can teach us. He’s a cold, merciless, demanding professor, but those kind are often the ones we learn from most.