New York City Braces


When we moved to New York City, I don’t remember expecting to deal with two hurricanes, an earthquake, and tornados in the span of fifteen months. Under the threat of Sandy, we have all begun to prep for war, it would seem. We gather our ammunition against the storm (candles, flashlights, lanterns); we gather our sustenance (canned, food, bread, water); we fill our tubs and pots for clean bathing water should the lines be shut off.

We prepare because it is the only thing we can possibly do when faced with a storm so much larger and so much wilder than we are. When a storm rages at sea, and the sea consumes land for it’s supper. We are forced to watch and wonder and scramble for safety because that gives our fear purpose. It is what we must do. As a believer, I do something else though. I pray. I petition the one who sees all storms as small and manageable that He would remember my family in the midst of it.

I do not hide behind the belief, I allow it to support me as I stack my cans of food and set out my candles to light. I remember that the earth rages with dangers, and natural disasters are no more than that. They are natural to a world weakened by its many years. They are something we cannot escape, but we have to face. Whether that means we heed the warnings of our city officials and evacuate, or we hunker down in our home with more food than we need and enough batteries to last out a zombie apocalypse. (Though should Sandy bring flesh-eaters to the shores of Brooklyn, I fear I am ill-prepared to fight them.)

Today, as the winds began to pick up, and the windows were splattered with the spit of rain, I sat in a tent in our playroom with three kids. I made smores and told fables and pretended the storm was a backdrop for fantasy. The storm was an excuse to stay still, to imagine. Life goes on in the midst of a storm, and that is how you triumph. You move wisely. If the tumult tosses you, you regain your footing. You allow the fear and the certainty of your mortality to give you strength. And then you snack, you watch movies while the electricity is still on, you make sure all your electronics are charged, and you wait for the storm to pass. You can try to fight it, or ignore it, but in a storm, the best thing to do is just to weather it.

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