Count The Grains Of Sand

Sandpipers on beach

Sandpipers at Sandy Hook Beach, NJ, Summer 2012

Today marks an important day in the restoration of damages from Hurricane Sandy. Six months after the devastating storm pounded the Northeast of the U.S., areas are reopening, including Sandy Hook Beach in New Jersey. Sandy Hook has always been near and dear to me among the beaches I’ve known. Coney Island, Jones Beach, Ocean Grove, Long Beach Island, can also be counted, and I know that people in these parts have special memories from many of the available beaches. The picture above was taken last year close to the end of the summer. One thing that Sandy Hook allowed me was the chance to relax and contemplate. I enjoy the sand and surf, but seeing the waves and wildlife helps me gain a perspective that is elusive in daily life.

When I was small and learning to count, I thought the sandpipers were counting the grains of sand. I’d laugh and laugh as they ran back and forth inspecting the grains as the waves lapped at the sand. “It must take them forever to count all that sand,” I thought; though from a child’s perspective, a few months to your birthday or holidays can be an eternity. I look at the sand now and I know each grain started as something larger. It took time, a long time, for each grain of sand to find its way to that shore, to find its way onto my beach blanket, and to sneak home with me in my car. Sand doesn’t happen overnight, but it gets renewed by nature, and when people step in to boost the shoreline; these things take consistency. The destruction from this storm will leave marks for years, but we will rebuild, and it may take time, even a long time for some people. The important thing will be consistency. We must remember what happened, and take steps to ensure a safer future. For any person affected by natural disaster, we must not forget after the news crews find a new story. Help will always be needed and appreciated in this world.

As a resident of the tri-state area, I saw great destruction during and after the storm. Yet, for all the wind, water, and debris, the human spirit would not be crushed. I’m reminded of a picture taken in Hoboken, NJ where power strips and a sign inviting others to charge their phones hung outside someone’s home. I remember first responders who worked to save other people even while their own homes were facing damage. Whether by job requirement, religious calling, or human camaraderie, people banded together. We saw the destruction and the suffering of others and tried to find ways of alleviating the troubles. News coverage of the past few days has been showing improvements in some areas, but there is still a great amount of work to be done.

Millennials will face more storms in the future if current trends follow predictions. We must think of ways to ensure safety and live in balance with nature. Let us be the best examples of ourselves in future challenges, so that future generations will be better prepared for disasters. If we cannot offer financial help because we are struggling ourselves, let us offer our time and compassion. You may discover many things by being open to experience, and being willing to help just for the sake of helping others. One day, what was lost will be rebuilt. As Gen Y faces the buffeting winds of the economy and job market, we will also reach our future goals. Overcoming adversity applies for disasters and finding your path; the challenge makes the fruits of our labor even sweeter, because we persevere for as long as it requires.

To any of my readers, if you know of a group or resource that can use help from Millennials in disaster response, please comment to help get the word out. Sometimes willing people just need to know where help is needed, and we will do what we can to share that information.

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