Out of Chaos, Opportunity

I realized recently that I haven’t written anything about the tornadoes since the How to Help post I put up here right after the storms came through. That’s certainly not because I feel unaffected by the events, although we were lucky enough to come through unscathed, but I just haven’t been able to find the words and frankly, I’ve got serious reservations about posting anything since we didn’t suffer any personal loss. I saw a friend refer to it as survivor’s guilt and I guess that’s part of it. But I’m pushing past that because I do want to share something wonderful that came out of all this tragedy, a reminder about the strength and beauty of the human spirit.

Simple Pleasures

Sara Lena wrote over on her blog about the unique life lessons her family took away from the experience and I’ve heard many people comment that the week after the storms was a wake-up call about what is truly important. Meeting your neighbors, playing with your kids, watching less TV, getting more sleep. Learning to live without can lead to some wonderful memories and a nostalgia for a time when we weren’t all chained to our mobile devices and by extension our work. I hope, perhaps naively, that my family can try and appreciate more often how little all the “extras” really matter.

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Neighbor Helping Neighbor

The other lesson I plan to take away from the storms is a reminder of what a difference one person can make in the lives of others. Much has been made about how generous people were after the storms. Numerous toy drives, food drives, countless hours of volunteering and people just being aggressively nice to one another are just some examples of that generosity. I was struck by how quickly people were connecting on Facebook and Twitter and offering up whatever they had to give. A mom posted she needed size 5 diapers, another said she had some just give her an address. It’s enough to make me tear up just typing this.

We know that much more will be needed in the coming months and perhaps longer for some of those hit hardest. I am optimistic about continued generosity but I am also realistic that there were many before the storms that needed help and didn’t always receive it. If I could ask one thing of those that read this, remember those people too. When our town has moved past the 2011 storms, let’s continue to remember the marvelous feeling that comes from helping others and apply it to all of those in need.