I live in a small commercial fishing town at the beach. When Hurricane Sandy was gearing up and making news, we heard, “this town hasn't been breached since 1962, everything will be fine.” Folks weren't panicked since Irene mandated an evacuation and not one light bulb flickered. These families' incomes are on the water so their lives are driven by the weather.
Then came Sandy. She was on a mission to tell her own story.
Here's a picture of our street at high-tide.
The water was rising and it was terrifying. I was following Twitter for updates. Our phones were all we had to communicate. By morning and low tide, the water had receded. Barnegat Light was dry again.
We jumped in the car and started checking on friends and neighbors. Possessions were blown around and I was tweeting pics from our town and surrounding communities. Random folks were tweeting back and asking me to check on their house. We did.
What I didn't realize is that we would be doing that for the next 3 days. Not only did we check on homes and take pictures, we were turning off gas lines, emp
tying out freezers and trying to put homeowners' minds at ease.
When I'm working I feel like I'm moving 100 miles an hour. But I've never really known what it feels like to move at 100 miles an hour until those days following Sandy.
So while I sit here in a hotel room in Pennsylvania seeing the devastation caused by Sandy for the first time on television, I'm off-kilter in every way possible. The wide range of feelings and emotions that I experienced from the building of the storm, going through the storm and what we saw after the storm have left my soul feeling like one of those tiny knots you get in a thinly-threaded necklace. You have no choice but to let time, patience and perseverance loosen it.
How do folks decompress and process this experience?
While we have been displaced with a few belongings, it's nothing more than a string of inconveniences. After all, we have an intact home to go to and so many others don't.
Like other tragedies, we get our temporary wake-up call and then move on. Do we ever truly realize and appreciate what really matters?
I bet the folks who lived here will.
About the author: Kimberly Roden is an HR pro turned consultant and the founder of Unconventional HR. She has 25 years of progressive experience as a strategic HR and business leader. Her hands-on and innovative approach allows her to create and deliver HR solutions to meet business challenges and needs by managing human capital, talent acquisition and technology.