The storm has passed, then, but still the suffering endures . . .
Hurricane Sandy’s aftermath is – to some, at least – proving to be just as devastating as the waters that swept through their homes and, in some cases, the fires and the winds that destroyed them.
The latest estimates suggest that more than 1.8-million homes remain powerless, half of them in New Jersey, where another storm – this one wintry, the forecasters predict – is due in the coming days. The death toll is in three figures and countless thousands have been made homeless.
Now, like never before, we need each other.
Such things in mind, the human response has brought at least a little warmth to the cold and the sodden in recent days. It’s a sad fact that it often takes something bad to bring out the good in people. This is an extreme example, but it’s true that, in terrible times, we’ve all come together to restore our faith in each other.
People have opened up their homes to total strangers. Food has been shared. Power too. Good deeds, kind words and generous gestures. It can be difficult to take anything positive from such devastation, but there is good to be found here.
That it is being detailed in such an articulate fashion makes it inspirational, for the examples we should all be following in our own lives – hurricane or not – are all around us. It is at such times that the internet – and social media in particular – comes into its own.
Take this blog post, for instance, written for the Huffington Post by Danielle Giaccio, who has seen the devastation on Staten Island for herself.
To quote Danielle, ‘I am still beside myself at the utter devastation I have seen, but I am full of hope and joy over the amazing, selfless and beautiful things people are doing for each other. I am truly touched to see the absolutely remarkable and incredible support the local communities are doing to help those who are in desperate need.
‘We . . . are coming together in astonishing ways to help each other out. People are coming to the areas where the most devastation took place to help dig out homes and salvage what they can from them. Strangers helping strangers. In our darkest time, a ray of light came from you, the people. This storm changed forever people’s lives, their homes and communities, for miles and miles, but this sense of community and unity shows how this hurricane has brought out the best in us.
‘We feel proud of our hometowns and we know now more than ever the importance of community. We have come together to help each other out in ways I’ve never seen before [and] my hope for us is [that] after this tragedy we continue to remain on this united front. Always remember what we saw, and how we came together.’
Inspirational stuff, you’ll agree, not that Danielle is alone in pointing out the ways in which we can all learn to live better lives – ones more connected, that is – in Sandy’s aftermath.
In another blog, also for the Huffington Post, MeiMei Fox writes ‘In general, Hurricane Sandy or not, when those around us grow snappy at each other, impatient, frustrated or annoyed with their lives, we can shine our inner light into the gloom. We can point out what’s right. We can express our love. We can be the ones to smile at a stranger. To offer a compliment to a neighbor, shopkeeper or cab driver. To thank those who make our lives a little easier. Always, we can choose to be the ones who bring joy, thankfulness, compassion and appreciation to those around us. No matter what storms may rage.’
Here at OM HQ, we have two requests. Please think about these beautifully-written blogs and the important lessons they’re teaching us; and please, keep the kindness coming . . .