As I awoke this morning, sounds of life returned to the city. The sun was even trying to peak its way out from under the clouds now that you’re gone. After nearly two straight days of rain and an abundance of wind, you have left us in disarray and are now causing havoc in other parts of the Atlantic. It hasn’t been since 1988 (Gilbert – my grandfather’s name) that Jamaica was directly hit by a hurricane of your magnitude. A whole 24 years.
I’m sure as the days go by we’ll hear about the destruction that you have caused and how much money will be required to fix it all. For an already extremely poor country, this is a devastating blow. It’s very strange to be on the inside of one of these catastrophes; normally I’m just a voyeur while Anderson reports on you and your friends live on CNN.
Your passing through has made me feel very reflective today. Reflective and grateful. I looked up at the sky yesterday and the clouds were moving so very fast – so was my head. My thoughts are only catching up with me now. In the face of a crazy storm, what did I hover towards; what matters most?
1. Patience. I think I was starting to get frazzled and ahead of myself. A bit impatient with the journey I am on. We are preconditioned to panic while facing the unknown – it’s unusual for people to openly embrace uncertainty. In fact, not knowing where I will be living or what I will be doing in 6 months, 12 months or even tomorrow can feel scary. It can also be very liberating and wonderful but I needed to slow down to appreciate this. Likewise, this quote coincidentally landed in my inbox today:
“Patience child, patience. Remember, life is a journey. If you got everything you wanted all at once there’d be no point to living. Enjoy the ride, and in the end you’ll see these ‘set backs’ as giant leaps forward, only you couldn’t see the bigger picture in the moment. Remain calm, all is within reach; all you have to do is show up everyday, stay true to your path and you will surely find the treasure you seek.” ~Mastin Kipp
2. Kindness. I wanted to give. Give more of myself to humanity. I know I’m only one person, but in the midst of a crisis, I am a nuturer. I had three other women with me yesterday and my natural instinct was to protect them. I would have housed the entire island if I had the space. Only today am I allowing this heaviness to lift and am dealing with how I am actually feeling and doing. I am now also being kind to myself.
3. Space. When something so big happens, it forces a long pause. A step back. A time for calm. The aftermath is then a rebirth. The slate has been wiped and a new chapter is now being written. There will be a reference point in history made to this event. How do I want to move forward from it? How does Jamaica?
4. Love. Yes, love. I was loving as much and as hard as I could yesterday. There were people I couldn’t be with, but I was loving them just the same from underneath the white sky. In the wake of your rage, I wanted to feel loved. I’m sure hundreds, if not thousands, of families, partners and friends were sending each other well wishes yesterday, wanting to be near each other. (To those who reached out to me: it meant a lot. Thanks.)
5. Togetherness. Somehow being close to others, especially when vulnerable, brings about comfort. It’s important to create memories that aren’t just in your head – they are shared. I was lucky enough to ride you out with friends, and was happy to have the company. Life certainly does multiply and expand when others are there to share it with you, even the unpleasant parts.
Our own fragility is powerful at times. Sandy, thank you for this reminder.