With no electricity or heat in either of our apartments after Hurricane Sandy hit, my friend Kathi and I went to our friend Susan’s place across town to crash.
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“I have plenty of Marion socks,” Susan offered.
“Marion” is how she affectionately refers to her mother, who apparently loves to give the gift of nice thick slipper socks every year at Christmas. What a kick to realize that they are the very same socks my mother is fond of giving, so I already had a pair in my suitcase.
Even at age 50-something we laughed and appreciated our mothers’ almost obsessive desire that we be warm. How poignant that felt at a time when we couldn’t take warmth for granted. Not at all. And especially when we started seeing the footage of what others had lost in Hurricane Sandy and what they continued to endure.
Walking up and down the streets of Hoboken, N.J., in the aftermath, seeing people’s belongings in pieces, water-logged, stained, all piled by the curb and hoses coming out of basements and cars with windows dewy on the inside and the glassy displaced look in people’s eyes and the National Guard driving through town and volunteers getting their marching orders to procure seniors’ prescriptions and an elderly woman trying to get money out of a dead ATM – whoa.
I came away with this -- what really matters?
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Go ahead and think on that while I bring us to the here and now.
As you read this, roughly half of the country is livid at the prospect of being governed by a man they think is totally unfit for the job of president of the United States for the next four years. After all that’s happened in the last week-plus, here’s what I’ve got left in me on that topic:
Oh well. C’est la vie, baby.
Yeah, that’s right. Dripping with sarcasm. Governor Chris Christie isn’t the only one who can ‘talk Jersey.’
If your guy lost, get over it. This is our democracy. We voted freely. The tally is in. Let’s take our lumps like adults, shall we?
The nastiness, the heartlessness, the pettiness of our politics – it all just seems ridiculous now. Piles of money. Donkeys and elephants. Whoop-dee-doo.
I know there was much at stake in this election. I’m not making light of it. But seriously, Americans are free to organize and effect change and put passion behind causes. Maybe some are being called to do that, not just by an election outcome they might find devastating but by this mind-boggling storm. Sure, it occurred in the Northeast, but so many around the nation felt it and responded in a heartfelt way.
What do we do with it now? Because you see, the woman I saw on the news staring in disbelief at rubble that used to be her house who just “wants to go home” is ever present in my mind. After that image on TV and the ones I’ve seen with my own eyes this week, our national election suddenly occupied much less real estate in my brain.
I know plenty of people will simply go on with their lives as if the storm never happened. Certainly I’ve done my share of that in the past despite seeing heartwrenching pictures on my television of other natural disasters and tragedies. But we don’t have to just go on. We can take something from it, something beautiful, no matter our personal or collective loss. I know it’s too soon to have real perspective on any of this, but I am confident it will happen. My entire life shifted after 9/11 and I am now very proud of having been awakened by that catastrophic event.
Perhaps that’s why the following made me so happy. One of my Facebook friends, not a Jersey guy and probably a little more reasoned than me, posted this early on Election Day:
If Obama loses I promise to not just raise my hands in the air and scream ‘stupid people!’ I’ll accept that my fellow citizens saw something that I did not. And I will make an honest effort to find what I was missing. But if Obama wins, I kindly ask my right wing friends to grant our country and its citizens the same courtesy.
Ah, what are the odds?
But, yes, that is exactly the right approach if we are true patriots who love the way our system works and if we appreciate all that our servicemen and women are sacrificing for our right to participate in it. Bottom line: Our fellow citizens went to the polls just like we did, and lots of them went for the other guy.
I’m not saying it’s easy for many to accept a political loss that will set the direction of our country for the next four years, but this is how it works We’ve all lived through presidents we didn’t particularly care for and the planet is still rotating and the sun still shines and there are still people who love us unconditionally.
And, might I add, my friends and I have nice warm feet that we don’t take for granted any longer. What a true and divine blessing.
Nancy Colasurdo is a practicing life coach and freelance writer. Her Web site is www.nancola.com and you can follow her on Twitter @nancola. Please direct all questions/comments to FOXGamePlan@gmail.com.