Never have we seen a Halloween like this.
Super Storm Sandy rocked a third of the U.S., leaving a wake of rain ravaged cities, debris littered coastal areas, and a trail of broken homes and vehicles. In addition, she piled heaps of blizzard induced snow across mountainous areas along eastern states.
Today, bustling cities still echo with ghostly shadows of their former glory. Even the New York subways are haunted with silence, as filthy water laps the tunnel walls. Blackouts roll over the streets like a deathly vapor.
Wall Street has finally opened after two days, but will operate under controlled conditions.
I’m far away from this mayhem, in Missouri, but I’ve known the great floods of 1993 and 2008. I’ve experienced devastation from monster tornados and boiling thunderstorms. Where huge oaks are uprooted like toothpicks, and water smashes strong buildings like doll houses.
I know what it’s like to wake to a changed world. Where the landscape this morning, doesn’t resemble the one you saw when you got up yesterday. It grips you with shock and anxiety, and leads to a deep sense of confusion.
And yet, there’s opportunity to unmask goodness in the midst of this crisis.
Most of us at some point experience hard times, tragedy, acts of God, and other manner of hurtful, scary things. But it’s through those experiences that we learn, and become equipped to help the next person who goes through difficulty. Whether in the extreme, like Super Storm Sandy’s historic nightmare, or through a mild frustration — by knowing how it feels to deal with unwanted circumstances, we are prepared to reach out to someone in need.
We understand how important the little things become. The joy of everyday items like toothbrushes, toilet paper, clean underwear, food and water. So when someone else has a need, we think to pack the little things up, and send them to victims.
A new crisis causes our memories to bubble, and we remember the day we stopped taking common items for granted. When our light switches worked again, rooms in our houses dried, telephones rang, computers sparked to life, and refrigerators cooled. Because of those memories, maybe we join a work crew, headed to Ground Zero of the current situation.
When you’ve walked through unimaginable chaos, prayer becomes more than an empty promise, but a vow to keep. “I’m praying for you,” are words that matter, and not spoken lightly.
And so it will be for those on the east coast. In a year, two, or five, when a tornado hits a city like Joplin, or an earthquake ravages a state all the way across the country, folks in the east will pack up, load up, pray up, and rush in to offer assistance. Because they will know.
Many victims of Super Storm Sandy will forever-after understand the importance of a hug, a smile, an encouraging word, practical gifts, and the power of compassion.
This will always be a Halloween to remember. But in the nightmare, we find a dream. Where human hearts reach out in love. Working together, in hope, to heal, for honor. As the bell opens on Wall Street, so it tolls through the halls of our humanity. People need each other, but sometimes it takes a Sandy to remind us just how much.
Anita Fresh Faith
Anita Agers-Brooks is an Inspirational Coach, Certified Personality Trainer, Productivity Specialist, Certified Team Training Facilitator, Marketing Specialist, national speaker, and author of First Hired, Last Fired — How to Become Irreplaceable in Any Job Market.
She’s a member of the Christian Writer’s Guild, client of WordServe Literary Group, graduate of CLASS for Leaders, Speakers, and Authors, a co-founder of The StoryWriting Studio, and speaker on circuit for Stonecroft International Ministries.
Anita’s passionate about business with integrity, healthy relationships, and issues of identity. She travels the country teaching others from her personal experiences and research. She believes it’s never too late for a fresh start with fresh faith. Anita lives in Missouri with her husband Ricky.