Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Wednesday's Words for October 31, 2012

I don’t think I have any words that would be adequate to this situation so many are in. My heart breaks for all the people caught these past few days in the fury of Mother Nature.

It’s a somber reminder to us all that as powerful as we believe humanity to be, as strong a force as we are upon this earth with our weapons and our technology and such, there is another force far greater that will always prevail, and we really are powerless against it.

The reach of these storms was vast, record-breaking, and wreaking havoc not only in the United States, but Canada as well. This storm was a killer before it combined with the cold front to become something other. It continued to claim lives in both our countries, and in the aftermath we can only stare, wide-eyed and in shock at the devastation left behind.

One thing I have learned in my life is that there always seems to be some new, “worst thing” to come upon us. Bad stuff happens, and it happens to us all. It doesn’t matter if we’re black or white, Canadian or American; it doesn’t ask our religion or our sexual or political preferences. When disaster strikes it goes after us all with an equally ruthless hand.

From what I’ve seen, as I watch the extensive news coverage, and what has become of New Jersey and New York, I don’t know how anyone can recover in anytime less than a year.

The death toll may rise, and the storm wasn’t, as of Tuesday night, even over. It’s projected to sweep back toward the east, trek across upper New York State, and hit our eastern provinces, what we here in Canada refer to as The Maritimes. Monday night in Toronto, a woman was killed when a large sign was blown apart by the incredibly strong winds.

I do, however, see something else as I watch all the coverage of this event, and it’s definitely something worth mentioning. I see Americans working together, to help their neighbors. I see people reaching out, lending a hand, regardless of whatever differences there may be between them.

That is one of the things that, to me, makes America such a great country. Her people don’t turn their backs on each other. They don’t cast their eyes about and say, “well, that’s got to be someone else’s problem”; they just roll up their sleeves and get to work.

I see co-operation between elected officials of both parties. At this time, and under these circumstances, they aren’t democrats or republicans. They’re simply Americans who have been elected to take care of their people, and they’re doing just that: putting the needs of their people ahead of any other consideration. In other words, they are doing that which is right.

Adding insult to injury, the temperatures were supposed to drop Tuesday night in some areas, and for those without electricity, staying warm would be a challenge.

There’s another edge to this tragedy, beyond the physical. It’s hard to lose everything you own, to have to look around you and realize that everything is gone. We’re used, most of us, to getting by from day to day; we work, we save, and we do what we can to plan for the future. The sun comes up and goes down, and in the course of our lives we’re presented with challenges. We win some and lose some, but we keep motoring on.

And then we face a disaster, a real disaster, and the enormity of that loss—when everything is gone, when everything that was normal changes—that is something that is really tough to handle.

I’ve mentioned to you before that we’ve been through that twice ourselves, as we’ve lost not one but two homes to fire.

It is the battered spirits of the victims of Sandy that I pray for most; for when our spirits are bolstered, when we feel the strength of the prayers of others, then we can take those first, hesitant and shaky steps toward recovery.


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