I've seen the messages all over Facebook: people who have been more or less affected by Hurricane Sandy expressing their gratitude — for neighborly help, for the fact that they were spared anything truly terrible, for the little things (the warmth of their favorite pets or a cache of their favorite snacks), for time with friends or family. Even for the friends of mine who were stuck in downtown NYC sans hot water, power or internet for four to five days, I saw remarkably little complaining — though there was plenty of joy when the lights came back on today and yesterday evening. 


I, too, am feeling ridiculously fortunate. After about 48 hours, my boyfriend and I vacated his apartment on 16th street in the Chelsea/Flatiron area and headed to my place in Connecticut, which was without power for only a few hours (many thanks to the terminal moraine that is Long Island for blocking the worst of the storm's wrath from the shores down the hill from my house). So basically, I hardly endured anything that a good shower couldn't fix. But many people have been (and still are) dealing with so much more. Kids who have been out of school for a week, chronically flooded homes, ruined cars and property, and plenty of sleep-over refugee guests (a challenge unto itself).


And yet, from my warm and powered-up POV, I don't know that I have ever before seen such an outpouring of gratitude. 


After all, it could have been much worse. Maybe not for the people who lost a loved one, but for the vast majority of us. And something terrible could have happened to many of us. Thankfully we have responsible and prepared local and federal governments (and Red Cross and National Guard) while though not perfect, have done a pretty darn good job throughout this crisis. Most of us were prepared and helped our neighbors and sheltered friends (I had offers from five different friends for showers!). 


This is a great lesson. We are, despite our daily preoccupations and admittedly spoiled lifestyles, good and generous people. Sometimes it takes a crisis to realize this. But I'm glad I saw it happen. And I am grateful. 


Did you see or experience any great moments over the last week? Did you help a friend or neighbor? I'd love to hear your stories! 


Starre Vartan ( @ecochickie ) covers conscious consumption, health and science as she travels the world exploring new cultures and ideas.