It seems that mother nature is trying to tell us something here in Connecticut. At the end of August we had Hurricane Irene come in and rock our boats, leave behind damage, and for many, including my family, days without power. Irene was said to be unprecedented in the usually undramatic weather world of this region, so once power was restored and clean up began, we all said how glad we were to have that all behind us. Then two weeks ago the weatherman started talking about a nor'easter making it's way with it's sights set on us. There were warnings that it could wallop us with 6-12 inches of snow and take out power lines. When all was said and done, for the interior portions of Connecticut, Albert showed us that we had not seen anything yet.
We lost power in our house for nearly seven days, and right now there are still people with no power.This storm took trees down in every yard and street, tangles of power and cable lines hung down lifeless. In my town this scene made Irene seem small and insignificant, and yet again, miraculously most homes managed to dodge the barrage of limbs and trees. It could have been so much worse. The ensuing days of kids home from school, with a symphony of generators as a soundtrack, was tiring and stress levels rose each day. Even now people are angry about how long they had to go without power. Investigations have been launched and fingers are being pointed furiously. And yes, I think it could have been done better, and adjustments need to be made. I admit I felt whiny, irritated, and impatient.
Since the event, I have been thinking about what the lesson is here for me in particular. What has come up for me is a realization that I have entitlement issues. This is somewhat amusing, as I am one who has talked to other parents about the problem of entitlement that I see amongst the kids in this community and what I do to parent around this. As dramatic as the loss of power, phone etc. seemed at the time, I have to admit it was really no big deal at all for me. I did not suffer any real hardship, none at all. We have a generator so we did not lose food, we had heat and hot water and even a television. I know these were the conditions for a lot of families, and those who did not have generators had an easily accessible shelter or went to hotels or to stay with relatives. And yet, the complaining and woe is us attitude has been pervasive, and yes, I am pointing this finger squarely in my own direction.
What is the problem here? The problem is that I take too many things for granted and have a very limited view of the world and life from where I am. Sure, I read or watch the news and know that in other places, other towns, states, countries there is poverty, famine, and real disasters where people die and lose everything they have. There are places where most of the people have never had all of these things that I assume should be there for me, food, water, electricity, schools. If these people heard my complaining over this non event I think they would probably want to laugh in my face or more likely punch me in it, and I would not blame them.
What Albert came to remind me is that things can happen and everything I take for granted could as easily be taken from me. What can't be taken from me though, is my ability to grow and expand, my compassion and my gratitude, the capacity to love. These are infinite sources of power no matter what circumstances might come. Thanks Irene and Albert, I won't miss you but I appreciate what you taught me.