Like many of you, I’ve been glued to the television and my computer, watching the devastation unfold on the East Coast from Hurricane Sandy. Images of façades falling away from buildings, cars and even carousels underwater, and dozens of homes on fire is enough to make even the most stout-hearted feel a bit faint.
And to be honest, it’s times like this that gratitude is the last emotion we can find or experience.
But I’m going to try.
Things I am grateful for:
1. I am grateful so many are safe. This morning, as I combed Twitter and Facebook to see how friends and family and even total strangers are doing, I was relieved to hear that even though many people lost trees, cars and even homes, for the most part, everyone reported being physically safe, and their neighbours being okay. Having lived in hurricane areas all my life, I know that hurricanes ain’t no joke, and Sandy was a beast — so it’s wonderful to hear that so many people survived.
2. I am grateful for the kindness of strangers. For the first time in recent memory, my Facebook stream isn’t filled with snarky or angry political rhetoric, but instead, people reaching out to find out of others are okay, offering to help, up to and including guest rooms, if necessary. This, my friends, is the main beauty that can come from a hurricane: people looking out for each other, forgetting their differences, and instead offering their assistance. It is something that brings me to tears every time I see it, and it restores my faith in humanity.
To that end:
3. I am grateful for social media. Last night, as the storm crashed ashore, I sat in my home in Houston watching folks on Twitter virtually holding hands as it all happened. In addition to folks tweeting information about the roads and power availability, people outside of the storm’s path, all over the world, were offering virtual support and cheering people on as they weathered the fury of Sandy. Today, I’m watching people use the media to help find loved ones and friends they haven’t heard from, and telegraph the needs of people who remain in trouble.
I’m not sure how we managed natural disasters in the past, but man, I’m grateful we have this media now.
4. I’m grateful for the Red Cross. Even before the storm came ashore, I started receiving emails inviting me to donate to disaster relief at the Red Cross, an organization which is so vital in times like these. And I’m grateful that I’m able to do so without even leaving my house, just sitting here right in front of my computer. Naturally, I donated (because the devastation is so great), and I’ll take a moment now to encourage those of you who can to do the same.
Finally, a note to those who have been affected by and/or experienced loss because of the storm: know that you’re in my thoughts, as well as the thoughts of thousands of people around the world who are virtually supporting you through his devastation. The last hurricane that I went through was Hurricane Ike, and to be honest, I have to say that the days after the storm passed were actually the toughest: dealing with power and water outages, cleaning up debris, and so on, not to mention grieving any and all loss you may have experienced. So I wish you strength in the coming days, and remember that if you need anything, please just put it out there on the internet, and I guarantee someone, somewhere will come to your aid. People are awesome like that.
Hang in there. YOU’VE GOT THIS.
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