We watch widows mourn their late husbands. We see individuals live with disabilities. We see cancer patients looking pale and bald.
All these harrowing life events evoke feelings of intense empathy; this human need to relate to and commiserate with our fellow beings. To see them in circumstances that so turn our idea of normalcy on its ear is a poignant way of making us more appreciative of our circumstances.
But perhaps more significant, is the way it seems to bridge massive divides among people. I can't help but ponder that point as I sit here tonight watching the news coverage of Sandy--the phenomenally devastating storm assailing the East Coast. I, nestled in my suburban home outside of Salt Lake City, suddenly don't feel like there's virtually an entire continent that exists between myself and these individuals for whom Sandy has wrought such devastation. While I cannot in any first-hand capacity relate to the events of those in New York and New Jersey, I feel so moved and affected by the shocking state of their once, "normal," environs
It's remarkable watching the coverage of a women's center in New York City as they care for new mothers and tiny infants amid a maelstrom of unprecedented scale and I find myself asking, "How on earth do they do that?"
But they do. We do.
We endure. We adapt. We forge a new existence sans partners. We learn new ways of living without the abilities we might have once taken for granted.
We adjust to the once-foreign image of our bald heads. (This one for some us is especially familiar. ;))
Because each of us is strong. Every one of us. Each of us possesses a provision of strength, the true nature of it unknown until a circumstance surfaces that demands our fortitude and then--like withdrawing funds from a rainy-day account--we garner these reserves of mettle and implement them in ways that surprise even us.
But, unlike a store of money tucked aside for unforeseen expenses, rather than depleting our supply of strength, we actually build on it. It compounds and grows with the exercising of it. Our intrepid natures grow exponentially as we brave the swells of life's challenging storms.
So as Sandy's effects are further made manifest, I find myself marveling at the courage, tenacity and ingenuity of the inhabitants of the eastern United States and am reminded of that courage in all people.
It's like The Universe telling us in its really crazy way:
"You're tough and you're resilient. You're brave and you're hearty. You have no idea how many people your struggles inspire."
I try and allow myself the opportunity to inspire myself as often as possible. ;)
Because sometimes we need reminders of how awesome we are. If we didn't have those reminders we might never know.
Take care of yourselves, everyone in Sandy's path. <3