Tuesday, September 13, 2005

41. Essay: After the Storm

by Windmill M.

[SPECIAL NOTE: Hellicane is pretty strict about accepting only poetry regarding Hurricane Katrina, but the essay below was kindly submitted with a request to post it, with "the hope it would help someone." Though not poetry, the piece is so powerful and inspirational, Hellicane is proud to present it here in its entirety.]

September 2, 2005 - To Hurricane Katrina Survivors - After the Storm:

It is only after our basic physical needs are met, that the 'other' survival begins. The following thoughts are for those whose who are out of danger now, but who are facing uncertainty ahead:

Whatever you call the power in the universe that creates calm after chaos, call on that power now. Whether your name for that power is 'God' or 'Allah' or merely "the power of all that is good in the world," call on it. Stand still and be quiet and feel your connection with it. It is the force that unites us all. Remember that "we are the stuff that stars are made of." The same atoms and molecules that make up the universe run through us. When you connect with that force, you will have strength to endure.
Neitzche has said, "He who has a why to his existence can bear with almost any "how." Find your "why."

Know that you are merely walking through a tunnel or a dark cloud. You have survived this far. Keep walking through it. There is an end to this tunnel, an outer edge to the cloud. It is not without end. In the days ahead you will see the proverbial light coming closer and closer. Keep walking and following. You need take only one step at a time. Don't look at the big picture right now. Just keep walking through the pain, walking through the emotion, walking through the doubts, one foot in front of the other. You only have to be brave in this one moment.

Use this time to become your noblest self. For a reason that none of us can fathom, you were given this test. But know that this is a test that allows failure. Be gentle with yourself during this time. If you have already succumbed to what anyone in your position would succumb to - anger, fear, frustration, lashing out - know that that was a minute ago, or an hour ago, or yesterday. It's gone. Today, this moment, is your new chance to be noble all over again, to be honorable, to be brave.
If it is difficult to find the strength to be courageous for yourself, be courageous for someone else. Dedicate it to them. I'm doing this for my daughter...for my husband... for my friend...for my country." Make this time a time to create your legacy. You were handed a piece of clay to mold into something beautiful, perhaps spectacular. You were given the chance to leave something to theworld; and the world most certainly needs it! It needs you to show us how to be brave, how to be honorable, how to be our better selves. A great writer has said, "Life breaks everyone, and many are strong in the broken places." Be one of those many and we will learn from you.

Most importantly know that there will again be singing and laughter and joy in your life. If you have the strength, find humor in the now. This was a ridiculous thing to happen. Out of the ridiculously tragic comes the ridiculously humorous. Find humor where you can. Laugh at the outrageousness of this event. It's more than humans were meant to bear.

Be your creative self during this time. Whatever you do that carries your "signature," do it now. Compose a song, write an essay, invent a new "something." Sorrow and suffering brings you to the peak of your creativity as much as, or perhaps even more than, joy and contentment.

In a shorter time than you think, you will feel better. You will be hopeful again. You will be joyous again. Soon you'll be able to say, as the author Louisa Mae Alcott has written, I'm not afraid of storms, for I'm learning to sail my ship.� May the force of all that is good in this world touch you now and fill the sails of your ship with a gentle, guiding wind.


hellicane category: hope


Rod said...

Outstandingly well said! Phenomenally rich in truth! I call this the true “soup for the soul� Thank you for this insite.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for your insight and words of kindness and inspiration. I have a niece and nephew, two heroes, who as police stayed to help others through this ordeal. I only hope they can find the strength, humor and peace you speak of. God bless!