I know that you’ve been through a hurricane or two in your life. I know that because no one is entitled to a hurricane-free life. Yet, today, I hope you are safe and warm, I hope you have food and light. Please drop me a line and let me know how you are doing. (And if you need help, or want to offer help, please let me know as well – more about this below).
I took a hot shower last night, keenly aware of what a luxury it was, in the light of this:
This is a picture of a house in beautiful Brooklyn neighborhood of Seagate, where my kids used to go to gymnastics. (You can see more pictures here; the press coverage from Seagate, Manhattan Beach, Gerristen Beach, Staten Island and Far Rockaways is almost non-existent, so you may have an impression from the media that the post-hurricane situation is being well-handled by FEMA and the Red Cross).
My neighborhood had heat, electricity and hot water throughout hurricane Sandy. Short of a few fallen trees, a fire scare and shortage of gasoline, it wasn’t a big deal here. It seems like many people in the neighborhood have moved on.
Except for those who aren’t.
There are those who could stay perfectly comfortable in their warm, light homes, but they are out. COJECO is on the ground in Brooklyn every day, bringing food, water and flashlights to the elderly in high-rise buildings; Clean Up SheepsHead Bay is collecting and distributing donations, and helping families in clean-up efforts; Giving Back has created an info and donation hub; marathoners have delivered supplies and helped clean up – and there are many, many more self-organized people who stepped in and stepped up. They could have stayed home.
Except that they really couldn’t. Their beliefs didn’t let them stay out of this; they felt no choice but to do something. So, let’s talk about choices.
The reality is that whether you vote for Obama or Romney, you will be all right at the end. Moreover, our country will be all right.
Whether or not you participate in NPR’s fundraiser, their programming will continue.
Whether or not you decide to donate for the relief of hurricane Sandy, New Yorkers will be ok.
Whether or not you come out to bring the food and water to the elderly stuck in high-rise buildings, or donate items to the families who lost everything, or spend your day-off cleaning up debris, both you and the families in need will be fine. Somehow.
Making a choice to do or not to do something doesn’t make you a bad person, or a good person, because on a large scale, any choice is as good as any other choice. (This may be hard to digest, but I’m convinced that this is so; e-mail me if you want to talk about this in more detail.) So, it all comes down to this: make choices based on whatever you want to fill your life with.
Make a choice as if no one is watching you, as if your choices have no consequences beyond choosing Any route to a safe destination. And you will see that at the end you will be ok.
We make choices based on what we believe.
We vote a certain way because we believe that one person is a stronger candidate than the other. We choose to evacuate or not to evacuate based on where we believe our families will be safer.
We send our kids to certain schools or visit certain places because we believe that these will be good experiences.
Behind everything that we say there is a belief.
Behind every choice that we make there is a belief.
So, if you are not sure what choice to make, write down a list of what you believe in. The beliefs don’t have to be about your decision, just a general list of ideas that you believe in. Then, make a choice that is aligned with your beliefs. And if you feel strongly about your beliefs, I am certain that you will feel good about your choice.
I believe that I’m good at connecting people with needs and people with resources. So, please, don’t hesitate: if you (or a family you know in NYC) need help with clothing, other resources or clean-up post-hurricane, please email me the specifics (contact info, current location, sizes), and help will be delivered.
If you want to donate, please consider donating directly to the organization that has been in Brooklyn, NJ and SI from day 1 after the hurricane, providing relief: Team Rubicon . They are smart, efficient, and [unlike FEMA and Red Cross] they are Here, so I believe in them. Thank you.
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