Lessons from a Recovering Doormat

I’m still reeling from hurricane Sandy. I live in NYC and could have never imagined something so catastrophic hitting my city and the areas around me. But it did! We don’t get hurricanes often in the NY area. And when we do, the city itself is usually spared. As the wind whipped outside my window, I heard reports about downtown Manhattan going under water, and then Chelsea and other areas having breaches in the East and Hudson Rivers that sent water hurling onto the streets, flooding out blocks of midtown. I was alone but my faith in being safe was strong so I wasn’t scared.

In the days following the storm, the outpouring of kindness has been phenomenal. People are enduring a lack of heat, power, and basics like food and water as the temperature dropped dramatically. Other people are reaching out to help. I’ve never been prouder to be an American, and a New Yorker. A group I belong to organized people who had space to take in people with nowhere to sleep. I gave someone the futon in my living room. We weren’t strangers, though we’d never met. We were human beings, related by that.

All around me I heard about groups of people offering victims a place to sleep. And for those staying in their cold dark apartments, offering a place to shower and recharge phones and computers. Like during 9/11, we’re coming together to help each other. It gives people hope that everyone will survive and move past this horrible occurrence. New York harbors are opening so tankers are bringing more gas, which has been in short supply. Hope is rising even more as the power is about to go back on in lower Manhattan.

Hope–it’s something that keeps people’s spirits up. A small act of kindness can bring so much hope to the recipient. The woman who has been staying here cries when she thanks me. I cry for the joy of helping her. To me, I just let someone sleep on my futon. For her it was a warm cozy apartment to sleep in. This spirit was high during 9/11 and I hope it continues. Even without a disaster, we need to reach out to people more and give acts of kindness when we can.

One that you can do is donate something on the American Red Cross site. or you can text REDCROSS –to 90999 to donate $10. Please give what you can and forward this to other people. Whenever I think about my inconveniences from the storm, I think about all the people who lost everything, and give more.They need help. Please give what you can.

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