Monday, August 29, 2011

A Hurricane of Gratitude

Adios Irene, and hola to the shining sun....Somewhat ironic given the hurricane swirls were overhead not that terribly long ago.

Nothing like a hurricane to:
a).  Remind you of your Florida-living years,
b).  Illustrate the power of wind and rain.
c).  Make you feel a strong sense of gratitude.

Here on the 29th of August, we're now on the flip side of Hurricane Irene, and we're also at the 6th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.  There's something a tad eerie in that... at the very least, it shows you the strength of history and memory. 

With Irene now a thing of the past, we all have seen the images (either on the television or in our own neighborhoods): floods, trees down, winds, waves, and more. I think something like this causes you to take pause.  At my house, luckily, we weathered the storm rather incident-free.  Insert gratitude here.  I know several people (including our school) that are still battling without power, with the prognosis being to get power back anywhere between the next hour... to 3 to 5 days from now.  I know people with flooded basements, and can feel their pain as we were living that life last week with our renegade hail storm and torrential downpour.  I've seen Pennsylvanian pictures of complete flooded portions of town.  I know that upper New England got thrashed in a way that's pretty darn rare for that part of the country from a hurricane. I know that an unfortunate few did not survive the event. I have the memory of the images of Katrina.

In situations like this, where large negative events occur, I am often struck with a mental image of a massively huge boardroom.  The type with a large meeting table in the middle of the room.  I envision everyone I know, or even a world of people, sitting around that mammoth table.  I picture us all placing our troubles in front of us, on the table. After going around, showing and sharing all these problems, we're invited to take from the table whatever problem we so desire.  Looking at the selections, I see everyone reach right out, and take back our very own.  It becomes obvious that no matter what turmoil we may feel we're encountering, others have equally heavy loads, some of which we'd rather not have! 

I find this visualization really brings it all into perspective.  Post-hurricane:  my classroom is a disheveled mess due to storm-prep, not looking at all like the start of school is near.  Yet, as daunting as back-to-school set-up feels in a classroom with no electricity and with children (hopefully) coming Thursday, I find myself thankful.  It's not flooded. We had no major issues at school due to the storm.  I have electricity at home.  Even if I didn't have electricity at home, my home is safe.  Even if a tree were on top of my home or my car, this "boardroom image" reminds me to be thankful I have insurance...thankful for the safety and health of my family. 

Yes, there are the need now to tile my basement from the last storm, poorly-timed with the start of school and my needs there. But given our home, I appreciate that we had friends and family who jumped right in to help us out.  I repeat, yes, the inconveniences are frustrating, but I do find great comfort in swimming in the swirl of gratitude. 

Images:  Satellite map of Hurricane Irene from, boardroom table pic from, Gratitude quote from

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