Many people have lost their memories and their history. Not only in this storm but in other storms and disruptions as well. For some, Harvey is a heartbreaking sequel.
They’ve hauled their belongings to the curb before and now they’re doing it again. Piling up their pain. Waiting for deliverance. In some way they’re the lucky ones. They can distinguish stuff from life. But still there’s loss and pain.
Social scientists say that being “known over time” is one of the most powerful connections we have. When we are surrounded by people who know our story, they are our mirrors and they remind us of who we are – and who we’ve been. These are powerful anchors in a chaotic world.
It’s the friend or neighbor that says to us:
“I remember when you couldn’t even reach the counter.”
“I remember when you were afraid to travel.”
“I remember when you lost everything in Katrina and you found a way to build a new life”.
“I remember when you lost your son and your life fell apart – and you found a way to use that loss to be good for the world.”
Often, there really is no such thing as recovery. We cannot recover what was lost. We can only go forward and only if we have people that remind us of who we are – of what we are capable of when things fall apart.
These are the ways we love and support one another. Those of us who “live in troubled regions”.*
That’s all of us.
*See “Storm Warnings” Adrienne Rich.