What Really Matters


I so appreciated reading Isaac Steven Herschkopf’s essay, “Between Light and Darkness: Lessons from Hurricane Sandy” (Nov. 9) as it resonated with me greatly in the aftermath of the last couple of weeks. His reflections helped me crystallize the lessons I gleaned from this event. 

My own experience included our loss of power and heat for 10 days, my father-in-law being in the hospital for four days, my worrying about both him and my mother-in-law who also lost power, my husband’s office flooding out, his warehouse being shut down indefinitely, which could have meant the end of his business, keeping watch over our house, dog, cat and three out-of-town houseguests while negotiating with (or rather sitting on the phone for countless hours waiting for) Con Ed, Cablevision, tree guys and our insurance company. And all the while simultaneously visiting the laundromat and guarding the live wires down on our property so nobody got electrocuted in the darkness — and of course, the ridiculous search for gas.

Now, I recognize that my experience pales in comparison to the unimaginable losses suffered by others, but make no mistake, it wasn’t a cakewalk for me and so many in my community. What truly touched me was how many wonderful friends, family and others in our community stepped up to invite us in to shower, eat, charge up, sleep over or just warm up with some coffee. I am truly grateful and thankful for all their kindnesses. And I know that similar kindnesses were extended in all the other neighborhoods, too.

While sitting in cold and darkness without the benefit of TV, it forces one to ponder many things, and I’ve come to understand the difference between what we think matters and what really matters, and what we need and what we think we need.

My hope is that these feelings of gratitude will not be fleeting and that as we near Thanksgiving, we might all remember and be inspired to carry out kindness for just a little bit longer.