After the initial shock of the strike of Sandy I felt a strong need to help, accompanied by an overwhelming confusion as to how to do so. I'd lived in Nashville during the big flood 2 years ago, as well as through Katrina and regretfully did not help. I'd like to say that it was because I was confused as to where to put my energy into such a relief, but at the end of the day I have to admit, I was just too consumed with my own personal life and struggles to find the time and resources to do so.
Between my guilt from the past in similar situations and my newfound soft spot for people I don't know, I decided I wasn't going to let this opportunity to help people in need pass again. Having thrown some ideas between friends and having looked into how others in the area were helping I devised a plan.
At the Pre-Holiday Shopping Party I threw this past weekend, we asked each guest to bring something to be donated to the relief. One of my favorite local businesses had coordinated a collection and delivery to Brooklyn as I'd seen they'd posted on Facebook, so figuring out the drop point was easy. Within 5 minutes of my decision, I quickly jumped on my phone and called my apartment complex to see if they'd be alright with me coordinating something beyond my party, for the entire complex. The complex was overjoyed and quick to offer their assistance and resources by sending out a last minute email to all of their residents. I typed up a little faux press release and sent to it to the receptionist I spoke with, shortly thereafter I had a new message in my inbox inviting me to help the cause.
Tonight, I will drop off a full SUV worth of dry goods, water, clothes, and blankets to be brought down to the city. I'm simply overjoyed by the turnout and couldn't be more grateful to have had so many people help me pull it together. At the end of the day it was so simple, I've helped, I've helped other people help, I'm at peace with myself for having taken initiative this time, and I'm inspired to do more.
As many of us, I find song lyrics comforting, inspiring, and even revealing. I often like to find a great lyric to go along with an enlightenment or lesson I've learned. For me, in this situation, The Beatles summed it up perfectly in "Within You Without You" when they say:
When you've seen beyond yourself, then you may find peace of mind is waiting there.
For all of you who have found this years or yesterday, I commend you, and for those of you who still have that restless feeling, I challenge you.