Last Wednesday I left my home in Naples, Fl. Yes, I am one of the lucky people who lives in two places–and yet, since buying my “nest” in Florida last year, I have felt it was home. A place where I had found healing, peace, warmth, and a real escape from the frenetic pace of life in the Big Apple. As I was leaving my place, I really wanted to talk to the walls. (And no, I don’t think I am crazy…but I did need to let the Universe know what I felt!). At that point, it was not clear what I would find upon my return.
“Thank you for the shelter, for the happy times, the hospitality to my friends who have visited. I leave the walls behind, but I take with me so many good memories. It has been a magical year.” I closed the door and left.
With gratitude in my heart, I got on a Delta plane to NYC (and thank you Delta for making changing my ticket easy!) Never have I been happier to land in NYC and to run into the arms of my husband. I knew deep in my bones that the hurricane may dissolve some of my dreams of security, but that what I had was worth more than anything I could lose in the hurricane. I was awash momentarily in sadness, but my sense of gratitude was also deep.
Yesterday I watched the news as the eye moved over Naples (thanks for the truly crazy NBC reporters hanging out in the storm!) It was not fun to watch. And it was not fun not to know what would happen…to all the houses, but most importantly to the people who had not been able to leave.
This morning, while I still don’t know the extent of damage to my place (but I am filled with optimism that maybe, just maybe, we’ll be able to celebrate Thanksgiving there with my dear friend Johna) , I think Naples dodged a bullet even though there will be plenty of devastation and recovery ahead. Irma reminded me that love, connection to others, and memories are what really matter. The suffering and sadness are real too, but so is the sense of hope and the courage to face whatever we are dealt. We are not powerless just because we cannot change some things. Human beings are strong and resilient. Hope is always within our grasp. As is action that is positive and empowering. And that’s what will make the difference in the next few days.
So as we move forward and slowly assess the physical damage, let’s stay strong and let’s help each other. If you want to contribute to the recovery, please consider giving to Grace Place ( GracePlaceNaples Link)in Naples or to Memorial Assistance Ministries (MAM Link )in Houston. I have worked with both organizations, and I know they do good work with the people who will have the hardest time bouncing back financially.
And if you are sitting at home in a safe place, remember to give thanks for what truly matters. Count your blessings…and you will be surprised to find that no stuff can ever fill you with what you really need: a deep connection to others. So, get off the phone, stop texting, reach out and tell someone how much you care. And go out and do something positive. You can make a difference.
Life is Amazing! Live well.