I grew up in the harbor on the south side of Long Island, where Hurricane Sandy recently visited with a fierce craving for destruction never before seen in the area. Many have had to endure the random and comprehensive wrath of the storm, from the men and women to the elderly and the children, the black and the white, the birther and the foreigner, the Jew and the Muslim, the Republican and the Democrat, the wealthy and the worker, the straight and the gay, the junkie and the abstinent, the yin and the yang and everybody in between.
It hits me because it’s so close to home, but it also shames me because I never cared as much for all the other victims through history, for they are my neighbors and family as well, in the whole world, which is my real home.
I know someone who has lost her electricity, heat, furniture and house to the flood. She lost her car, her job and all her clothes. She has no insurance. She stays with strangers, friends of her daughter, and cries herself to sleep every night.
Though I don’t personally have the wherewithal to physically be there, I count myself as one of those strangers.
If it’s the grace of God that protects me, what is it that refuses to spare her and all the others? Perhaps God can only afford so much grace and it’s up to us take it from here.
May the realm of spirit abide in us and allow us to embrace, with the capacity of giants, all which is good. Let us focus our cameras on the needy and not on the lines in the sand. And let us recall our honeymoon as a new genesis and the beginning of a higher level of existence.
American unity will go from a rallying cry to our legacy, because, hey, it was a hell of a honeymoon, but it’s over. It’s time to move in together.
Willie Kiernan is a past editor of the Cazenovia Republican and a contributing columnist. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.