In September of 2005, my wife and I were evacuating from our Island home on Galveston Island, Texas, ahead of Hurricane Rita. It was a frightening set of days, in which we were in the midst of the nightmare of all traffic jams, in which we traveled only 100 miles in over 24 hours. The night of our first day on the road, amidst all of the traffic, tempers, fights over gasoline, and more than a few visible firearms, we reached the point were we were too tired, too stressed, and too frustrated to go any further.
We pulled over in the parking lot of an abandoned building, Sandy, I and our cat. For all we knew, all we would own in the next few days was with us in the car. The radio was saying that Hurricane Rita was a category 5 storm, and that Galveston would soon be underwater. It was one of the more frightening moments of my life, and I saw an equal emotional storm in the eyes of my wife.
The building was an aluminum sided square, with glass doors, and a disused look about it. I thought it might have once been a bait shop or something. Sandy slept a few hours leaning against the window, holding our cat. I slept a few hours with my head resting on the steering wheel. Traffic continued to slowly go past us, and other cars joined us through the night.
The next day, we got off the evac route and found our own way north. We found gasoline. We found food. We avoided any more fights over gasoline by men with pistols in their belts.
The storm went north, and what began as a frightening escape became an unexpected and unplanned visit with my mother in Knoxville Tennessee. But that abandoned building whose parking lot we slept in has remained in my mind.
As I was driving to Houston today on my way to Ft. Sam Houston, I kept my eye out for that abandoned building. I was not surprised to find the building occupied, but to find that this place where our faith was so low, has now become a house of faith…
“Riding on Faith – Cowboy Church” the sign said. Perfect! I think I will send them a letter telling them of the shelter their now church once offered to three frightened and wayward travelers.
Yours in Faith,