“All I can hear is the wind and sirens.”
And so began a blog entry I wrote a year ago when Hurricane Sandy slammed into the New York area. While I had electricity that night, the storm had taken out my television, telephone, and Internet connection.
“I am writing a post that no one can read,” I wrote. “I’d be completely off the grid if it weren’t for the cell phone and the radio. So I guess they weren’t kidding….”
I’m writing this on an unusually warm autumn day. But things were different a year ago.
“The winds are wailing all around my house. From my third floor window I can see the tops of the trees being whipped from side to side. Hurricane Sandy has arrived and she is stomping all over this corner of the world.”
I was going through another one of my back episodes at the time and could hardly walk. While I was accustomed to being stuck in my house, I wrote that the hurricane “makes me feel even more cut off.”
“I have to write because there’s nothing else to do.”
I wrote about feeling old and isolated, about being stranded. I went on about how I had a million things to do, “but the weather and my physical condition have pushed me into a corner.”
I had no idea that so many people were dying that night; that so many people were losing their homes and all their possessions. It was like I was in bathysphere sunk deep into a black ocean.
I didn’t realize how lucky I was, that losing my cable service for 12 days was nothing compared with what so many others were going through. Yet looking back at my post-storm entries, I devoted so much space to complaining about not being able to watch TV or screw around on the web.
I’m sorry I reacted so foolishly. Being cut off from the world, I didn’t appreciate how people had suffered and, in fact, continue to suffer. I wish I could’ve been more grateful for coming through such a nightmare unscathed. I’d like to think I learned something.
“I truly see how much time I waste on the web,” I wrote in my unseen entry. “I’ve been tempted several times during the writing of this post to check my email list or Facebook or any number of news sites. It’s time to recharge my vow to spend more time writing and less time surfing.”
That vow still needs work. I can feel my attention span crumbling as I flit from one website to another each night. How much of this alleged “information” do I retain? And what good is any of it when disaster strikes?
Today is All Saint’s Day. I had the day off, so I watched the lunchtime service at Trinity Church on the Internet.
“God is counting on you to be holy,” Rev. Mark told the congregation. “God wants you to be blessed and to be a blessing for others. God wants you to be a saint.”
I’m a long way from being a saint, to put it mildly, but I think being thankful for what I have is a step in the right direction.