Hi you guys. I hope you are all OK. It goes without saying that our lives have been completely rocked over the past week due to Hurricane Sandy. My husband and I were so blessed to be largely unaffected aside from the mass transit outages and some damage on our street. We holed up in our apartment with lots of canned food and bottled water, paper plates, cups, and plastic ware in case the water went out and rode it out from the safety of our couch. But while we are physically OK, by the time the storm was over we were emotionally wrecked.
Anyone who’s seen images knows how hard Sandy hit our city and surrounding areas. But just being here, it’s been a whole different level. We watched the images pour in 24 hours a day for days, peeling our eyes away from the screen long enough to sleep and then to come back to it again. For the first several days, our local channels didn’t even show commercials. Just devastation after devastation, 12 hour shifts by newscasters, rising death tolls, and public officials trying to figure out where to pick up the pieces.
It’s been real, and it’s a reality we’ve never experienced.
For the first part of the week, we weren’t really able to leave our neighborhood. After four days of processing the images and taking it all in (and fully recovering from the flu), we were able to get into Manhattan and hit the pavement. The picture above is not pretty, but it’s a good idea of what things looked like in a neighborhood that lost power – and this wasn’t even one of the neighborhoods under water. We’ve heard from friends and coworkers and random people on the street how their lives have been at the very least interrupted and at the very most, completely turned upside down, including an electrical worker who traveled in from Long Island to help get power on in the city even though his family had been without power for four days and had a tree through their house. I’m so grateful that my loved ones, my friends in New York and the friends I’ve met online are all safe. I’m heartbroken for the people who suffered bigger losses than we did.
I’m also super humbled by our church, which pushes us in the best ways possible to live out that calling to love God and love our neighbor. I’m in awe at the things my church family has done to bless our city and those affected, and I’m inspired to be more more like Christ.
The number one thing my husband, my friends, and I cannot stop talking about is how people are still hurting, and it’s not going to go away when the news coverage stops. We hope that we can be help and love to the people in Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, Manhattan, Long Island, and New Jersey over the next several months or year.
We’ve also been talking about how much this storm has changed us and how much we don’t want to go back to “normal” even after most of the power is back on or the rebuilding is done. I know that God has used this experience to unlock the servant that I’ve wanted to be but was too “busy” or too afraid or too shy or just not sure where to start beforehand. I still have a loooong way to go, but I have a heart that’s dying to serve, and I’m grateful to have church that is passionate about presenting opportunities.
I hope that everyone who is reading this got through the storm safely. Since I do know that some of the friends I’ve made through this blog were affected, let me know if you need anything!
Also if you’re in need of help, or if you’re looking to donate or serve, I’m told the below organizations are some of the best sources to go to.