I’m writing this at my desk as it’s raining and the winds are blowing strong outside..a little reminder of what we were in store for last year at this Halloween time…..Little did we realize the lasting impact this superstorm Sandy was to have on the area where myself, family and friends lived…..people living in trailers outside their homes….people who HAD no more homes….people who lost everything….in one day…just gone. And all the people in my neighborhood who reached out to others who had no electric, no food, no heat…..it was sad and beautiful at the same time.
In the rawest sense, most people in the northeast were left with their bodies and their memories…..that’s it. Look at this picture from the streets of Long Beach…everyone’s lives on the street waiting to be taken away…I drove down those roads and it was just so sad. Makes me think about the things that can be taken from us in a heartbeat….and how if we had the ability to know this ahead of time, how would we live our lives differently? Who would we call? Who would we tell that we love them? Who would we spend time with ? What memories would we make? (Because as my dad who had passed always said…”Memories are the only things you get to take with you, so make a lot of them!” So true, right?
Another experience I had was the site of overwhelming generosity….humanity. I went down to Long Beach to volunteer and remember walking into the ice skating rink where they had stacked ALL of the contributions high to the ceiling…(no joke…I’m not exaggerating). Thousands of bags of clothes, products and foods donated by people who saw the opportunity to contribute…it was soooooo overwhelming that it made me well up…ALL these people who cared about people they never even met…the love and energy these donations came with just radiated throughout the rink. Reminds me of a friend and priest Father Tom Hartman and what he had talked about to me when I was little. He said God made the world like swiss cheese….that there were bad things that happened…the holes. But that those holes are there to give people the opportunity to patch them up…to serve…to contribute….to help…..to shine their light for others.
Personally, I not only know what it feels like to have had the opportunity to fill maybe just a small hole, I also know what it feels like to be on the receiving end now. Through the initiative, efforts and collaboration of my friend Sal Ferro from Alure Home Improvements and from the president of the United Way Foundation, Theresa Regnant , materials were just delivered to my house yesterday so that my bulkhead and backyard that were destroyed from Sandy can be rebuilt and our house can be protected again. To think about the people who donated their money who do not even know me or my 3 children is overwhelming and I will NEVER forget it…and am ETERNALLY grateful! I use it as a lesson for my kids as well, to remember how people who give can have such a positive impact and how we need to be sooooo grateful for the help we received and remember to give back now and when they become a grown man and women one day…. I am sooooooo grateful…thank you….thank you…thank you…..such a humbling feeling….
I’d love to hear about an experience you’d like to share of your own with a comment below if you were effected in any way by this storm or any other….
COOL QUOTE ALERT
“We make living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” -Winston Churchill
With crazy love and gratitude!
Donna 🙂 xoxo