What Fiona Has Shown Me
It has been a tough month for so many people.
Empathy is a word that is often confused with sympathy. Empathy means you are experiencing someone else’s feelings. It requires you to feel what the other person is feeling–putting yourself in their shoes. It comes from the German words “feeling into”. Sympathy, on the other hand, is understanding someone else’s suffering. It is more of a feeling of pity for another.
What I see happening since Fiona’s ferocity is a lot of empathy. It has united us with ‘feeling into’ the hearts of so many broken souls. Just like how our inner thermostats made us human during the pandemic.
As I partake from inside the circle of relief recovery efforts, as a Donations Coordinator, it has been emotionally fulfilling to observe so much empathy. Kindness from within our communities is expected, but the expressions of empathy from strangers are transforming.
Some people feel the need to immediately take action to help, others are waiting for their turn to be present later because they know it is going to be a long haul before our displaced residents find normalcy.
This is the light we can grow on in so much darkness.
The lights we have
“In darkness there is light,” is a famous quote by Millie Florence, meaning no matter what obstacle you face, there is light.
A recent conversation with a neighbouring town official reminded me of all that we have around us.
My lights are focused on the strong leadership we have. I see so much empathy and desire to make things right. I also see commitment in the many volunteers who, like programmed robots, jump in when there is a cry for help.
I see the power of community, the strength of Newfoundlanders and the overwhelming support from so many people, organizations, businesses, churches, towns, etc.
Recovering from a disaster is usually a gradual process. The structural rebuilding will be a lengthy one. Personal coping is another long process that involves so much emotional turmoil. The impact makes it hard to find its way back to feeling “normal”.
I am reminded of a verse from a poem that my mother passed on to me:
In this world, there’s so much laughter,
Disappointments too and tears,
Many smiles and many heartaches,
As we journey through the years.
Life is mostly what you make it.
Quite a lot depends on you.
There are so many broken hearts dear,
But there’s lots of gladness too.
As you navigate through the aftermath, look for the lights. There are many. The volume of support we have will help us through the tunnel.