Hurricane Sandy Didn’t Take Our Sunsets

Sunset 10.28.13

Sunset Over the Shrewsbury River
On the One Year Post-Sandy Eve

It’s been one year since Hurricane Sandy trashed our town and dumped nearly four feet of water into our home, making the downstairs resemble a fish tank. Need a visual? The next time you look at a door, picture a water line slightly above the knob.

While I’m happy to report that we have finally completed our renovation, it’s troubling that some of our town’s residents are still displaced because their homes await insurance judgements before being demolished or rebuilt. One of those homeowners is our mayor, Dina Long, who continues to inspire our residents with hope—all while being displaced herself. Now that’s leadership!

Signs of Renewal

There’s hardly a day that goes by without visual changes to our seaside landscape. Here’s  what I saw on a recent morning power walk:

  • A house being demolished
  • A fence being erected
  • College students shoveling sand from sidewalks
  • A porch being rebuilt
  • Front steps being constructed from a house that was lifted

Each sign of progress stirs a memory of what Sandy took away. Many businesses have reopened, some have changed owners, and others have gone out to sea and not returned. They each have their own story. An enormous amount of rebuilding has occurred and there’s still more needed.

Almost every single day I see signs of progress and hope, though many of us still have insurance nightmares on our hands. But, we are getting through this challenge. We’re getting through it together.

Here are five lessons I want to remember:

  • Write My Way Through it: The blog posts I wrote during the past year helped me to maintain my optimism. With each post I managed to recognize or uncover lessons from the chaos. No matter what challenge life brings, writing my way through it is good mental medicine.
  • I Can Handle it: I’m resilient. I can handle more disorganization, more uncertainty, and even more fear than I ever realized.
  • My Worries are Just Words: My deepest fears didn’t materialize. They usually don’t. When I remind myself that my worries aren’t the truth, I can usually talk myself down.
  • Have More Gratitude: I am grateful to our family, friends, and neighbors for their kindnesses both big and small. The more I let gratitude in the less room there is for sadness, loss, and despair.
  • I Need Less Stuff Than I have: I don’t miss any of the stuff the storm destroyed and I’m learning that having less stuff makes life simpler and me happier.

Today’s sunny skies were a stark contrast to the storm clouds of last year. Weather is like that. Trying to hold onto to today’s sun would be just as fruitless as trying to stall last year’s storm. The weather will do what the weather will do. And hurricane Sandy may have taken a lot—but it didn’t take our sunsets.

So, that’s why I’d still say the same thing I said in one of my earlier storm-related posts: When life gives you a hurricane it’s up to you to make the lemonade! What would you say?

Interested in my other posts related to Hurricane Sandy? 

4 thoughts on “Hurricane Sandy Didn’t Take Our Sunsets

  1. Thank you for your inspiring post! I find it interesting that Leadership skills are often learned/uncovered after a tragedy/hardship has hit. It’s often a result of the self-directed question, “What am I going to do now?!” and the decision to push forward and make the best out of the situation for you and your loved ones. It’s definitely a not easy decision and paved with frustrations and set-backs, but those colorful sunsets and beautiful views of life are always more tender and beautiful after a stormy trial. I hope all is going well for your community. Is there somewhere to donate to help rebuild communities/individuals in need?

    • Thank you, Austin, for your heartfelt comment. You are so right about how tragedy can bring out our best leadership and other qualities. Your offer to contribute to our recovery is so generous. A great non-profit that has helped residents directly is Thanks for stopping by!

    • Thanks so much, Loraine. It’s hard to say how much optimism I’d be able to muster if I were still out of my home. But, I appreciate your comment and thanks for reading!

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