And it was good

So here we are, on the other side. The rain’s petering out. The wind’s died down. There are leaves and twigs scattered around the neighborhood. Kids are home from school, but stores are starting to open again. Our family has power and we made it through “Frankenstorm” safe, warm, and dry.

Earlier yesterday evening, I was surfing the web in a last-ditch attempt to make maximum use of the internet in case we might lose it when the worst of the storm hit. As usual, The Atlantic had some great photojournalism going on. I scrolled through the shots tracking Sandy’s progress.

Haiti and Jamaica and Cuba. Destruction and peeling shacks. People standing in their one-room coastal houses as the water rises around them. Old men poking through rubble. Kids running the devastated streets.

A surfer riding the big waves in New Jersey.

I stopped. I stared.

Do we have any idea–any idea at all–how incredibly lucky we are up here?

I am by no means making light of any damage suffered by victims of Sandy here on the Eastern seaboard. Believe me. I’ve dealt with hurricane damage back when we lived in Florida. It’s scary and exhausting and even heartbreaking.

But There. Is. No. Comparison.

We get flooded out, we have trees fall on our houses or cars, we have to evacuate, we have power lines downed and boxes ripped off the wall and electrical fires and whole cities shut down.

But in the midst of it all, we are still so much luckier than half the rest of the world.

We can afford to buy canned goods and stock up before the storm. We have stores that can get sold out. We have the luxury of fighting over generators.

Do we have any idea how lucky we are?

We follow news coverage to track the storm’s path and the minute-by-minute forecasts. We snap photos and upload them to citizen journalist sites and keep tabs on the rest of the community. We text friends to check in on them, and even when we lose power we grab our charged phones and post Facebook status updates to let our family and friends know we’re okay.

Do we have any idea how lucky we are?

How many people in other countries face a disaster situation without communication, cut off from neighbors and the larger community? How many have to wait it out and just hope they make it? Hope they don’t get washed out to sea? Hope they can pick up their lives and go on?

Who can’t even imagine a place whose “devastation” and “destruction” and “brought to a standstill” is better than their everyday?

A place where we pull out DVDs and iPads and craft kits to entertain our kids. Where we can afford to joke about boredom or stuffing ourselves with junk food or riding out the storm with a bottle of wine. Where we dance outside in the rain and heck, even go surfing on the storm surge–because deep down, we know it’s going to be okay.

Because the sun will come out and the work crews will swarm in to clean up our cities and restore power. The kids will be back in school. We’ll repair the shingles and replace the screens and call the insurance about the damage to the shed. We’ll smile and get back on the interstate and the world will be back to normal.

We’ve endured discomfort. We’ve endured inconvenience. We’ve grumbled and shuddered and agreed with the screaming-loud headlines announcing devastation.

But the truth is that even in the worst of times we have everything, and we don’t even know it.


3 responses to “And it was good

  1. Thank you, Couldn’t have said it any better. Sharing 🙂

  2. All I can say is one huge, Amen!

  3. While I generally agree, there were quite a few people on the East Coast, in NJ, who lost their lives in this storm. Trees fell on their houses. So. very. sad. There were also quite a few people who lost everything in their very small home in many of the South Jersey beach communities. So I don’t really think the surfers quite capture the suffering of some. But you are right in that power outages and destroyed property is really nothing compared to living in utter poverty and having a storm take your life. We are very rich here indeed. I think these storms, and the loss of life and property, are a great reminder that even our rich little society isn’t really “in control.”

    So glad you didn’t suffer much in this hurricane, friend!

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