Between Hurricane Sandy and the unfolding medical story of someone I love, I have been in my cocoon the last couple of days. Though we were relatively unaffected by the storm on the Upper East Side, I took shelter as if under active attack.
While friends downtown spread generous offers of hot showers and iPhone charging stations, I alternated between the fetal position and “dinosaur arms,” retracted and unable to offer anything more than an online donation to the Red Cross.
Then something shifted. With the acute medical situation of my loved one resolved for the moment, I have come to accept the fact that a chronic condition is workable. Though difficult to tolerate any suffering in my loved ones, the situation clearly could have been much worse and seems decidedly less dire than just 48 hours ago. Now I find myself searching for resources online, reaching out to speak to my loved ones as much as possible, and actively sending my thoughts of love and workability.
The winds also shifted in my ability to engage with those affected by the storm. A downtown friend who lives in the outage zone reached out to me to see if I was OK. Though I felt paralyzed and helpless when I first received her thoughtful expression of concern, I found myself responding in kind with an offer of help. Then extending that offer to all the other people I know in affected areas, reaching out to friends in NY and NJ I haven’t talked to in months, clicking on a link for NYC Service I had thus far avoided, and exploring ways in which I could contribute.
Though I am not proud of my response time, I know that the need for assistance in this situation will extend far beyond Sandy’s immediate aftermath. And I’m here now.