The young woman was dressed warmly. Her sign revealed her underlying anxiety.
“Hi, Mom! I’m OK!”
She watched the television monitors visible on the street to make certain that she was on camera behind the Today Show anchors. Moving on occasion to accommodate the change in camera angle, she was working hard to let her mother know that she had survived the superstorm we call Sandy.
Work called and I couldn’t continue to watch. So I don’t know if the network probed deeper to hear her story. I don’t know if she had just experienced a time of terror in facing the unknown of this natural disaster or if she had been fortunate enough to have shelter and safety.
One thing was clear, she had shown up to send a message to her mom. “I’m OK!”
Sometimes when we struggle from day to day and hour to hour with dire circumstances, when we know of nothing else to do, we show up. We dress, we comb our hair, and we make a sign. Even though none of those things will really greatly improve our situation, we’ve done something that makes a difference. We’ve acted on behalf of someone else.
While putting on a false face of bravado or failing to address the reality of a situation isn’t healthy, showing others the ways that we are blessed is heroic.
In the past few days, I’ve heard stories from the storm and dramatic rescues at sea. The victims of the tragedies and the survivors don’t deny the gravity of their experience. Yet, they stand before cameras — or speak from hospital beds — in a spirit of gratefulness and in hopes of allaying the fears of their loved ones.
I’ve also heard stories this week of the brave who are facing cancer, surgery, lives of solitude resulting from the loss of a mate or a sister or a brother, and uncertain economic futures. In every case, despite their fears and even their doubts, they stand and they announce to the world that, even though they are hurting, they choose to move on.
And they want us to read their signs . . .
“Hi, Mom … Dad … Dear One … Friend! I’m OK!”