“I am not afraid of storms for I am learning how to sail my ship.” -Louisa May Alcott.
The Jersey Shore is a testament to resilience, community, and triumph. It is a place that was nearly destroyed and its residents run off after Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Yet today it still stands strong and as beautiful as ever. Just as the ocean waves rushed in causing destruction, the residents have returned and rebuilt. Within the borders of the beach you’ll find a community of close knit families, tourists, and friends. Just as the towns along the shore have survived and are thriving, so are these relationships. In fact I enjoyed a week in Lavallette New Jersey at the shore because of one of these relationships. It is one that like the shore itself, has withstood the tests of time and the battering ram of a horrific hurricane. In this case it was with long time and much loved friends that have been with me since before the massive stroke. Anything that can withstand such an event deserves recognition. Because, stories of victory are few and far between outside of superhero movies.However, there are plenty of real life superhero stories. They give us hope, they give us strength, and remind us of why we keep on going. Therefore, we need to hear even more stories like these. Surrounded by the newly rebuilt homes and beautiful beach front, I observed a community that rallied together and rose up under the East Coast sun. There was life, laughter, and plenty of love coursing through the streets that were once threatened with total destruction. It reminded me that even though life may put us through unsuspected and seemingly insurmountable circumstances, we can still emerge on the other side of them just as strong. Indeed we can emerge even stronger than before! They refine us like the ocean waves smooth out rough rocks and bits of glass. The relationships that survive the storms with us are like little protective cacoons of love. Just as we become stronger because of the storm, so do they. While it’s difficult to find any thankfulness for these life storms, I am thankful for the aftermath. These storms leave survivors stronger, with wisdom, and highlighting the love we sometimes forget exists.