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A Sandy Reflection .... Three Years Later

This morning I woke up grateful.

It was a comfortable 62 degrees, the sun was piercing through the clouds, the birds were chirping.....

Three years ago, this morning, I woke up grateful.

It was cold, dark and ominous.

Time is a beautiful thing. Keep reading to hear why I was grateful then, why I am grateful now and why time is truly a gift.

The above picture is the first photo I took on the morning of October 29th, 2012.

At first glance, you'll notice the sea foam, you'll notice a boardwalk, you'll notice some clouds and the sun trying to peer through. What you, or anyone who wasn't directly affected by Hurricane Sandy, may not notice are missing fences, a brick and concrete beach hut gone- completely washed away, an entrance ramp demolished, debris beneath the foam. You may not notice the destruction immediately, and that's OK- neither did I. In fact, the only thing I noticed when I took this picture the morning after one of the most terrifying nights of my life was the sun shining through the clouds. The only thing I noticed was God's presence shining through the darkness. It's the only thing I saw then, and it's exactly what I see now.

This morning the sky looked almost identical, but I didn't take a picture. Instead, I just took some time......

It rained last night. No, it poured and we had the musical arrangement of 42 MPH winds. Ironic, isn't it? Last night the sky was dark, the water was rough, the waves were strong and the wind howled as we lost power. And just like that, it was all gone. This morning's sky was cloudy but the sun was winning the battle- piercing the sky, making it difficult to drive. The birds were chirping (still are as I write this), the weather was comfortable and there was a sense of peace, or at least I felt a sense of peace......

Time is a funny thing... it can fly by in an instant yet can crawl so slowly it feels like we're going backwards. I've felt it all. Because three years ago, time was all we had. No water, no electricity, no cell phones, no cars, no gasoline, no heat, no work, no school ... just time. No selfies, no snapchat - just time. And it was hard. It was scary, it was depressing and it was a really difficult time. But it passed, as it always does. And soon enough I noticed that time was a beautiful thing.

We had nothing but time....

Time to rebuild, time to help others, time to be grateful, time to learn, time to teach and time to heal. We didn't have much, some of my closest friends didn't have their homes, people lost EVERYTHING. But we had time... and I am grateful for that. As each day passed, it got easier & I became more and more grateful for what we have. {You can read all about my lessons learned in the wake of sandy in THIS POST}. As each year passed, it got easier to tell the stories because there were so many happy endings.

There was, still is, and always will be a silver lining.

The sadness is gone, the despair has disintegrated. The houses are rebuilt, the boardwalk is better than ever. Businesses have reopened, communities are growing. Some people left, and never returned. I pray they find the help and courage they need to come home. But those who stayed got to see a transformation over time. Those who stayed, got to be a part of something bigger. Over time, people have become kinder, stronger, wiser..... and for that I think we are all grateful.

Three years later, I am still grateful for time.

And as the sun pierced the sky this morning, as the haze lifted off the water and the irony of last night's storm washed away, I took some time.

I said a prayer, as I always do each morning with my nieces....

"Thank you God for this beautiful day"

And before I drove off to continue the rest of my day, I added..

"... and for the time"

My family & I survived the storm with minimal damage to our homes. Some people weren't as lucky.

Please continue to pray for those people who are still suffering. Communities are whole when everyone is home <3


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