Tonight, my mother and I called our family in Long Island to see how they were faring. So far, so good, they said, although the winds raged and the rain fell hard.
Last year as Irene blew through our town devastating homes and roads to the left and right of us, a friend I had not seen in several years called to make sure we were okay. At one time, he had the keys to our door and would let himself in during the wee hours of the night and we would find him asleep when we came down for breakfast. Now, he lived half a country away, but when danger approached he let himself into our lives again to make sure we were okay.
On 9/11 as we watched on television the planes hit the Twin Towers, calls poured in from family and friends scattered far afield -- everyone who mattered called us and we called them, to hear their voices, to find comfort, to make sure that when nothing made sense that something still did.
My best friend from childhood and I go months, sometimes years without talking. I hear about her life from other friends, the occasional birthday card, but our lives remain intertwined. When her husband was diagnosed with leukemia, I called her, we went for a drive, we talked about their bucket list. We were together.
If there is some proverbial silver lining to a disaster it is this: it causes us to draw close, to gather our own, to cling to each other, to find a small, safe raft in the storm.