For many of us, this past week has been traumatic. Our world has been rocked, by an unusually destructive storm and its unusually disruptive aftermath.
The beautiful canopy of trees that has always filled our backyard now has ugly gaps slashed in it by the loss of a handful of once-proudly-standing trees. Far worse, a neighbor’s house was punctured by a huge tree that will cause months of disruption to their busy lives. And many people, especially nearer the shore, lost everything.
The mess will take months to clean up; and the stress, in some cases, may take much longer. Sandy has disordered a lot of lives.
Here in America, we live in a privileged bubble where major pieces of infrastructure are simply assumed – water flows, lights work, temperatures are regulated, fuel is around the corner. 24/7, or nearly so.
We all know that we live in relative first-world luxury, yet we all still become dependent on the “normal” that surrounds us. Take away that normal for a season, and we experience trauma. Major disruption, of any sort, does that.
So many of you “came alongside” me (and others) via our virtual networks during the darker days, and I want to tell you how helpful that is. Words of encouragement, and sympathy, mean a lot when everything familiar is disrupted. In the midst of the storm’s destructive effects, we got to witness real neighborliness happening in our streets and towns here in New Jersey – people coming alongside and helping each other with shelter and water and chainsaws and (even) re-charging stations for starving mobile devices (a neighbor down the street, who had a generator, would turn on the outside light as the signal that power strips were hooked up and ready in their porch for those who needed to re-charge)!
But in our social networks, there was also a lot of support. Dozens and dozens of messages were exchanged via Twitter and Facebook. And, it meant a lot to know that people were concerned.
So, how can you help? Sure, there’s giving to the Red Cross and all that. But, on a more personal level, just reach out and care. Little expressions of concern and love go a long way in the recovery from trauma. We’ll get through it, even while fuel is scarce for another week or so. And words of kindness will fuel our spirits as we steer our way slowly back into normalcy post-Sandy.
Thanks for your friendship.