Lessons from Snowmageddon

I was stuck in my 43-degree house for days after the power and heat got cut off during our recent snow storm. It’s been a cold and dark house; and all time seemed to stop. But there’s been some light. Indeed, sitting with layers of blankets draped around me, I’ve had lots of time to think. Oh, the lessons from Snowmageddon.

1. Did you hear the uplifting stories about Drew Brees, the New Orleans Saints quarterback? He’s the real deal, a real leader. He’s not just a football player or budding celebrity. In listening to people in New Orleans talk about him, he is an example of someone who deeply knows his community, acts with affection, and stays connected even when the cameras aren’t rolling. He has found a way to keep his balance even as he has transcended sports, celebrity and public life. He’s a good role model.

2. Then, there’s Sarah Palin. I listened to her speech to the Tea Party convention on my battery-operated radio, in the dark, and have since seen various news reports. Did you know she had scribbled answers to a pre-determined question on her hand? Then, once on stage, she peaked at them to give her response. Remember, I urged everyone to read her book,Going Rogue, and I stand by that. We need to see and hear each other. But, let me just say that I doubt President Obama had answers written on his hand when he engaged House Republicans.

3. I watched from my bedroom window as my next door neighbor retrieved an elderly neighbor who lives across the street, and who was also without power, and led her through the blizzard into her basement which was heated by a wood stove. I then watched as another set of neighbors with a seven-month old baby made their way into their home. Opening their home was a simple act of loving kindness; and it was a powerful one to watch unfold in real time. It’s easy to get caught up in the negativity of politics and society. But there is still innate goodness in people.

4. Sitting in my family room, half frozen, I found myself wondering what I would do if I didn’t have my current job. It was an easy question to think about given the imposed silence surrounding me. One answer is that I’d really like to work with adolescent kids who need a leg up in life, helping to cultivate their confidence and belief in themselves. But what I also know is that, for now, I want to keep my current job; more than at any other time since I began this work, we as a society need to turn toward one another and build our capacity for a better society. This is what I want to do.

5. It really is true that a man’s (person’s) best friend is their dog. I came down stairs early this morning and my black lab, Rosie, was nowhere to be seen or heard. My wife and I had put her and our cat in the kennel yesterday; they had been shivering from days without heat. My kids often tease me about what I’ll do when Rose is no longer here. My answer is clear: I’ll miss her.

I’ll be back to my normal postings in the coming weeks, but I thought I’d pass along these lessons from Snowmageddon. I hope you are well and warm and safe.