I haven’t posted much this week because I’ve felt very… quiet… after Superstorm Sandy. Not because it touched us, but because it didn’t.
The storm was never forecasted to hit Boston hard, but it was forecasted to hit us. Hurricane force winds. Rain. News reports advised to prepare for a few days without power. I prepared. And over the course of the day, as the winds picked up, I grew more and more anxious waiting for the worst to come. I let Paulo watch more cartoons during the day than normal as I needed to keep him inside and anticipated that they wouldn’t be an option for very long. And the power stayed on.
I didn’t cook dinner in the oven because I feared the power going out in the middle of the cooking process. And the power stayed on. I didn’t start a load of laundry because I feared having the power go off in the middle and having soggy clothes sitting in my washing machine for two days. And the power stayed on. Nuno didn’t answer his phone at work and I feared his getting stuck in his office without extra food or clean underpants if he didn’t come home before the power went out. And the power stayed on.
Through the night as it became clear that the worst was indeed over and we were indeed unscathed, I read reports about the immediate damage in New York City and New Jersey. And felt sheepish about my own worries. That night, Paulo had his first tummy bug and as I finally did run a load of laundry, I felt like the luckiest woman in the world to be cleaning up a pukey crib as babies were being carried out of PICUs by hand. The contrast was all too stark. All too YES UNIVERSE, I GET IT, I AM SO GRATEFUL AND SO LUCKY.
And it’s hard to know what to do with that feeling sometimes. Where to channel it. Yes, I’m so blessed and… and… and?
Something that I truly believe as a Buddhist is that we are fundamentally all the same. We are all souls hurtling through the universe, miraculously. I think a lot about how everyone I see was once born, that their entrance in the world was (hopefully) the greatest moment of someone’s life and what an amazing thing it would be if we could somehow harness that and carry it through our lives – that kind of love.
So when I think about how other mamas and other babies are suffering, I feel so very strongly that I want to help – that I want to do something – that I know it could be me. When I think about how lucky we are and how many advantages Paulo has growing up the way that he is – the things we’re able to give him, the love and support he was born into – I want to give that to all babies.
Which is why I donated to organizations working for relief for families struggling through Superstorm Sandy. I hesitate to say “victims” because it just sounds like the wrong term, but what is more violent than a force of nature? Victims? Survivors? Whatever the term, the people who are piecing together their lives after the rug was quite literally torn out from under them. I wish I could do more. I do what I can.
And… to delve into politics for half a second, it’s hard to be American and conscious this week without thinking about the election. I am so excited for it to finally be over that tonight feels like Christmas Eve. The election season is just far too long and this election has just been far too stressful, one of the most tense I’ve seen in my short adult life. Certainly the most polarized differences between the candidates.
In case you couldn’t guess, I’m voting for Obama. This will come as quite a shock to no one. I’m guessing most of my readers are too. If you’re not, that’s ok. I just hope that everyone gets a chance to vote and takes advantage of it. We’re truly blessed to live in a democracy and when I hear about people who “don’t bother” to vote, I start frothing at the mouth a little bit. Which is just unsightly, so let’s not make me do it.
I live with a fiscal conservative who would like to lower taxes to the point where the government starts paying us, if possible, and it’s hard to explain to him why I vote Democrat. It’s not because I want to pay higher taxes. It’s not because I want to take my money and give it to someone else directly. It’s because I truly believe that we all do better as individuals when society has a safety net and a broad middle class to build from. When I look at the Republican Party as it currently exists, I feel a huge lack of empathy. This is the point where I go off the rails a bit about “job creators” and health care and women’s rights and gay rights and kitten’s rights and and and and… so I’ll stop myself. You’ve heard it before.
All I want to say is that I’ve been thinking a lot this week about how we’re all in this together and I very much hope this election, when it is finally OVER, will bring us to a point where we can work together as a country to build up all of our citizens. And their kittens.