So for those of you not living under a rock, I am sure you have seen at least some account of the devastation that has hit the east coast of North America as a result of Hurricane/Superstorm/Frankenstorm/insert-latest-name-here Sandy. As a resident of New Jersey, I am writing to you from the midst of it. I want to take a moment to say, “Thank you, God.” I was only without power for about half a day, and I never had to evacuate my house, go without water, or face any kind of permanent damage to my home. I saw the news reports and my friends on Facebook reporting the devastation, but outside my door all I saw was some heavy traffic as a result of our road being open while so many major roads were closed. So even in the midst of the chaos, I was living in my own little safe bubble.
This morning, after three days of being inside, my family was getting a little stir crazy and running low on some essentials. So my mother, son, and I decided to walk to the grocery store – after checking to make sure it was open. It’s about a quarter mile away. When I mentioned the traffic outside of my house, I forgot to say that it was pretty much stop and go, and stretches as far as you can see in both directions. We actually beat a significant number of cars to the grocery store by choosing to walk instead of drive. On the way there we came across a couple of trees that had fallen on fences and one street light that had fallen. But really nothing else. My bubble remained intact.
The grocery store was a little low on many things – water, batteries – but really we got everything that we needed without a huge problem, and proceeded on our way.
My bubble suddenly popped when I saw the Red Cross Disaster Relief trucks lined up in the traffic in front of my house. At least 14, with more probably out of sight. We are in a disaster area. This is a big deal. I was choked up by that realization as my bubble ceased to exist.
We’re no stranger to bizarre weather patterns in New Jersey. We’re located such that we can get blizzards, nor’easters, or the occasional tropical storm. Jersey Strong, right? But up until last year we hadn’t been hit by an actual hurricane. And even last year wasn’t nearly as bad as it could have been. This one, this is as bad as it could have been. It made me realize that my bubble is just that. A bubble. A weak facade that helps me believe that bad things don’t happen here. But they do, and they happen in the best of places and under what we like to believe are the best of circumstances.
This is why when things are going well for us we need to remember that there are always those who are having a time of need, heartache, and struggle. We need to share our resources when we can, because there are so many who have less than what we have. At some point – most likely more than once – we will be in need and will be looking for that same help.
Do you want to help with the aftermath of Sandy? Here are five ways.
-October 31, 2012