That’s The Way Things Are

Kindness is a Virtue


I survived!


You clearly did too.

Damn Hurricane Irene.

The way they were talking on the news, it was like Long Island and other areas in the tri-state region might no longer exist after Irene made her way through. And they weren’t totally off base in that regard, unfortunately. Some parts of Long Island, and upstate New York, New Jersey and Connecticut as well, for that matter, were absolutely annihilated by the storm.

As we’ve all seen in the news, countless people across the region — including many on Long Island — lost power, phone services, running water, had massive flooding, lost countless household items and precious memories… Many are still without power even now, more than a week after the storm. The list goes on and on…

Now, I know that much of the time I write about things that piss me off. Yes, I’m aware of this, it’s not lost on me. Unfortunately, there are just a lot of things on that side of the fence that occur (for all of us) about which I feel comfortable sharing my thoughts. But it’s nice to also be able to talk about, and for me also write about, nice things when they happen as well.

No, I don’t mean the hurricane is a nice thing to write about.

I’m talking about something nice that I experienced as a result of the hurricane.

I live in the massive mandatory evacuation zone south of Sunrise Highway, and eventually I decided, unlike many other people, that I didn’t want to roll the dice and flaunt the evacuation order.

When I mentioned this to a friend of mine, she told me that my mother and I could come to her place to wait out the storm. Her mother had told her that any of her friends who needed a place to stay to wait out the hurricane were welcome at their home. After some slight deliberation about what to do in general about the hurricane and the weekend, my mother and I both decided to take them up on their kind offer, and headed for higher ground in Melville.

That’s quite the generous and kind gesture, I’m sure you’ll agree.

We all actually had quite the fun time over the twenty-four hours or so that my mother and I took refuge there. We watched the news, a movie, some more of the news, and all just chatted with one another and got to know one another even more (from scratch in the case of my mother), and just truly did make the best of a difficult and challenging situation.

I mean, my friend’s family barely knows me, and didn’t know my mother at all at that time. And yet, they opened their home to us. When we commented and thanked them upon arriving at their house, my friend’s father’s response was “we’re all people, and if we can help...”

That’s one of the most genuine instances of truly unassuming and unadulterated kindness I’ve experienced in my less than three decades on the planet. They certainly had nothing to gain by taking us in. Let’s be honest; it wasn’t exactly ideal to have additional people in their home during a circumstance like a hurricane.

And yet, that’s exactly the offer they made.

Unfortunately, we live in a world where we all experience so much frustration, stress and anger caused to us by other people who flat out just don’t give a crap about anyone but themselves. And so often, sadly, because that behavior is so prevalent in our society, the instances of genuine kindness and caring get overshadowed and don’t get the recognition they deserve, whether by written word, or word of mouth.

So, I wanted to take this week’s column to acknowledge an instance of kindness and caring that my mother and I experienced during Hurricane Irene. It would be a much better world if more people comported themselves that way, and if we all didn’t let the negative things crowd out the good that we experience, and give that good the lip service it deserves.

“Don’t go through life, grow through life.”– Eric Butterworth

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