Sandy: Twice upon a time

George Kain

Déjà vu all over again. Bad news: another late October storm that shut our town down and postponed Halloween (oh yes, and school). Good news: another incredibly positive community response in the recovery process.

Last October, we had a freak snowstorm. This October, we met a freak named Sandy. As we shake our heads in bewilderment and disbelief it is important for us to, once again, reflect on how these kinds of events have affected our lives. As we might wonder, “how could this possibly happen to us again?” it is important for us to try to see the forest through the (fallen) trees. Perhaps we have wondered why bad things happen to good people, especially to those people who do so much good for others. Don’t we harbor just a tinge of resentment?

Even if we don’t admit to harboring such thoughts, aren’t we still a bit resentful that our comfort level should become so unsettled? (OK, I’ll at least admit to this.) Events such as these challenge us to confront the types of feelings noted above. It’s unsettling not to have daddy come home, or to have a tree fall on your home, or to not have your daughter be able to call to let you know that she is safe — or not. Add your own gripe here.

Whatever the gripe (and they are all valid, by the way), perhaps it isn’t the tragic event itself that we should now be focusing on. It might now be more beneficial for us to focus on our community response to the tragic event.

This column is not about politics or about recognizing those who stood strong as our community leaders. They know who they are and how well they performed. For them, that is their reward. This is about all those in our community who moved beyond the temptation to fixate on the question, “why me?” and instead, asked “what can I do?” This is the spirit of Ridgefield that we all should respect and appreciate.

We are so blessed to be part of such a caring community that is dedicated to maintaining our safety and welfare. I consider myself fortunate to have witnessed the efforts of those in our community who volunteered their time to help all of us through this difficult storm.

Yes, bad things happen to good people — that’s a fact. Even so, let’s try to stay good people. Let’s be grateful for what we have. Let’s be grateful for our community and especially for those who spent countless hours trying to restore us to the community that we have come to love. Be grateful for our first responders and for all those who work for our town and who selflessly dedicated their time to bringing our community back to safety. Please join me in thanking all of them, including all of the volunteers who stepped forward, for their efforts.

We may always be tempted to talk about and reflect on “Hurricane Sandy” and the effect that she had on our community. When we do, let’s also be tempted to talk about and reflect on all of those in our community who came to our aid once she left. That’s the bigger story.

Déjà vu all over again.

George F. Kain is a WestConn professor and member of the Police Commission.

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