I lived through Hurricane Irene (even if it was only a Tropical Storm when it made landfall last year near me here in New York City). In fact, about 10 days before that I experienced my first-ever earthquake too!
Last week I lived through my first true hurricane. The lady Sandy made landfall late Sunday and the eye of the storm made landfall on the Jersey shore Monday evening. First, let me say this: I am fine. My home is fine. I never lost power. I didn’t lose anything.
But I will also say this … it didn’t hit me until yesterday what this storm did. I’m 28, likely a third of the way through my life and I’ve seen tornadoes destroy my home state of Iowa. I’ve watched from the safety of my home the damages from earthquakes and hurricanes since I was a child; from Andrew to Katrina, I remember them all and was always saddened by the destruction of these storms. Hell, my sister lost nearly all her possessions in the historic 2008 flood in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. I’ve seen it.
But this experience the past week, seeing friends have to run from their homes. Not have power for a week. A mother in Staten Island lost her two boys, two and four, as the flood waters rushed them and took them from her arms. They were found the next day, yards from each other. Lost. One of many lost to Sandy.
The path of destruction is vast. As I write this, my friend Hannah still has not been allowed back to her apartment in New Jersey. An entire neighborhood in Queens caught fire and due to the winds, they couldn’t stop it. Look at the photo … it doesn’t look like a war zone. It is one.
I don’t know 1 percent of New Yorkers, but watching them on television beg for help … they are my neighbors. We ride the subway together. Go to Starbucks together. Pay really high taxes together. And just want a chance. And my heart aches for them. I was lucky. I was sparred.
Sandy came and went but she has impacted my life in ways I never thought I’d have to experience. I don’t ever want to see this again in my neighborhood. The pain and sadness and anger was not deserved by the citizens of New Jersey, of Staten Island, of the East and West Villages, of Red Hook and of Breezy Point.
But there was love there. Doctors provided free exams. Restaurants cooked what they had left for those without power; for free. Residents ran extension cords down their steps with power strips so people could charge their phones to let people know they were safe. Families. Cats and dogs. Please keep this region in your thoughts and prayers. Sure, we’ll be fine. We, like all cities, are resilient. But that doesn’t replace the homes, the photos, the memories and the lives taken much too soon.
Sandy has taught me one thing, a lesson I continue to learn more each and every year: love as often as you can.
Selected Life Lesson
Don’t complain unless you offer a solution.
-Rosemary B’s Life Lesson from Mason City, Iowa
It’s almost over … the election that is! By this time next week it will all be behind us and Rosemary’s lesson reminds me of why I vote. Not only is it my right and I take pride in that, but it also gives me permission to voice an opinion for and against those elected and running.
For those who know me well, or read my blog, know that I can be a very political person. But one thing I am not, is a zealot. I love to discuss and debate, but in the end, I just want what is best, not just politically, but for my life and for yours.
That’s why I love what I do and why I push so hard on the audiences I speak with. Life is up to you. You get to make a choice. So, this week, cast a vote for you!
My friend Mike always gives me great books to read, and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, by Mark Haddon, is no exception. It began with the entertaining read of A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius and continues with this curious tale of an autistic young man at the cusp of adult-hood with a family that has fallen apart and a curious dog incident.
At first, the book as a bit unnerving in it’s style, but it quickly grew on me to a point where I wanted nothing more than to pick up the book again and read. It’s written from the young man’s perspective and soon, you, the reader, are thinking just like him. Your reasoning changes and you realize how fractured his world is and how badly you just want to understand.
In a way, the book is a look at the inside of all of us and how we all want so very much to be loved and understood and to understand. In my previous readings, including Brain Rules, I love to read books that provide that understanding, the this one meets that challenge.
I promise you will not be disappointed in this read that gives insight into the world of a young child in pain, in silence, in fear and in need of the one thing we all can give, love.