Hurricane Sandy has been devastating to New York City. With at least 32 deaths, a crippled mass transit system, burned-out homes and an unimaginable $20 billion in damages, New York has been left staggering.
How do we deal with adversity? How do we respond to difficulties and misfortunes? Do we just take care of our own needs, staying safe and cozy indoors and taking advantage of the time to stay in? Or do we offer help to others? Or, if we are victims of disaster, are we capable of receiving help, if needed?
Living in New York City, many people have felt that nothing as monstrous as Hurricane Sandy could ever happen to them. But natural disasters seem to come out of nowhere. They can happen anytime and anywhere, and it raises the question: what do you do when hard times come upon you in a fell swoop?
I remember living downtown in NYC during the blackout. It was incredibly challenging. I remember having to climb up and down 25 flights of stairs to get to my apartment. We did not have power for three days. I realized how ill-prepared we were for this unexpected outage of electricity. I can’t help but also think about how in the face of Hurricane Sandy, so many people do not have stockpiles of food, water, flashlights, candles, batteries. How can we help them?
Help does not need to be epic in scale. We can all do things big and small to help our neighbors. For example, something as simple as the joy of children and Halloween lifted my spirits during these trying times. The children were given a Halloween party in my building and they came to trick or treat. Their joy and life encouraged everyone, and helped them to take their minds off what we were going to be in the middle of. Also, my sons called me during the eye of the storm. It was such a simple thing, but it made me feel so good to hear their voices. It was important to know that my son, who lives downtown, did not have power, so I would not worry if I could not get a hold of him.
Little things can sometimes be big things. Hurricanes are big, but they are not as big as the human heart. So no matter what comes our way, let us love big. Love really can change the world, one moment or gift at a time.