There is a lot to be thankful for on this Thursday evening. Recently, my home along with other homes along the East Coast were left without power and heat due to hurricane Sandy. For seven days and seven nights my family sought heat by wearing extra clothing and piling blankets on our beds at night. We were lucky as we have a gas stove so we were able to boil water which gave some heat to a room downstairs. We filled hot water bottles which became a favorite with my kids, especially at night when they acted as a source of heat for their cold beds. A small generator kept our fridge working and our mobile phones charged. During these seven days and nights we learned to adapt to life without t.v., internet, heat, light, and more. Yes, I waited on line for over three hours for gas but I had patience as I knew how lucky I was in comparison to my neighbors down the Jersey shore. I was thankful.
In the midst of the destruction left behind by Sandy I witnessed the strength of communities that pulled together to help each other. Neighbors checked in on each other, helped remove fallen debris, cooked meals for each other, and even shared their homes to those without power. People held doors open in stores, graciously waved cars into streets where traffic lights did not work, and donated all that they could to those who were less fortunate. Those who received these kind gestures were thankful.
Power returned to our homes and many others over the past few days. Then as we tried to get back to normal Mother Nature paid us another visit in the form of a Nor’easter. Snow poured into wounds still open from hurricane Sandy. Trees and power lines weakened by Sandy cracked overnight under the strain of wind and heavy snow. As the sun came up, I looked outside at the beautiful veil of white left by Mother Nature. I watched neighbor help neighbor shovel snow and my son’s face light up as he played in the snow. In those moments I smiled as I witnessed the good grace of my neighbors and felt gratitude as I knew my son would return from the cold to a warm home. I was thankful.
I drove to work and I thought about the events of late. I wondered how those less fortunate than I were going to get through all this? As I pondered these thoughts, a green van passed me by with the words “Jersey Strong” emblazoned in big bright letters. It were as if God himself had answered my question. I thought about the strength of all those I had encountered during the hurricane and snowstorm. Like the trees that still stand we too are strong. We may get knocked down but we hold on and pick ourselves back up. For the courage, kindness, and strength of our people… I am thankful!