Connecting the Dots: Lessons from Hurricane Sandy

As we continue to deal with the effects of Sandy’s visit to our area, we must pause for a moment to extend our thoughts and prayers to those affected by the loss of their loved ones. We also hope that the inconvenience caused to those who have been displaced from

their homes, those who have lost irreplaceable items, and those who are without power, will soon be a thing of the past as the local and federal agencies come together to address and render assistance to them.

We must not forget the women, men who have placed their lives on the line as first responders, and the kind and giving volunteers (some youthful) who are always on hand to answer the call. The media have also played a crucial role in working with the local government and first responders.  A big ‘Thank You’ is in order for those in the ‘helping business’ as well as those for whom it is second nature to rise to the occasion and operate in the capacity of their brothers’ and sisters’ keepers. It is our hope that, with heightened awareness of the inherent implications, the necessity for rescuers to further endanger their lives as they go in search for people who choose to disregard the call to evacuate their property, will in time be non-existent.

I share these thoughts with you as a part of the reflective process which my experience of hurricane Sandy initiated in me. I have walked away with a closer relationship with adaptability, resourcefulness, selflessness, resiliency, gratitude and more, as a result of my interaction with people from far and wide.

Natural disasters have occurred from time immemorial, and yet it appears as though we have by default viewed these happenings in a segmented and fragmented manner.  As human beings, we are blessed with the capability of compassionately and lovingly responding to others (be they strangers, neighbors or associates) in times of crises. This is a wonderful spirit I know I must carry with me at all times, and firmly embrace as that common thread which speaks to a familiarity and togetherness with others that is so special!  So special, that I am wondering how one could go about reproducing and maintaining this ‘rush’ at all times – even in the absence of crisis or disaster.  How can we keep this fire burning? I would love to hear your unique ideas on how we can maintain a semblance of togetherness, gratitude, compassion, give and take, with everyone we encounter. I am not calling for a ‘blind acceptance’ or the ‘rubber-stamping’ of values that are obviously at odds with and detrimental to our own beliefs. I am talking about connecting with and showing a basic regard for humanity – the appreciation and understanding of the fact that we are all caring, compassionate and capable beings who despite divergent views and experiences, can position ourselves to make a bigger difference in this world with a slight attitude adjustment.  I will summarize my desire with this quote ,  All I ever wanted was to reach out and touch another human being not just with my hands but with my heart”– Tahereh Mafi, Shatter Me.

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