Ettie Newlands

If anything good is coming out of Hurricane Florence, it’s the overwhelming feeling that “We’re all in this together.”

The country has been divided politically for so long, impacting not just families, but even partners.

But fear trumps so much else, and for the first time in a long time, almost everyone has been on the same page.

In the unbearably long days waiting for Florence, our neighbors spoke with neighbors, making plans and promises to look out for each other.

We all knew who had generators, who had propane.

Later, we kept up with who had electricity and who had information.

We met neighbors we didn’t know before, and reconnected with those we hadn’t seen in a while.

Personally, I heard from a cousin I haven’t heard from in more than a decade, and it was like we talked the day before.

I’m sure it continues to be the same for others too, in their neighborhoods and their families.

Of course there are also the comments about “being careful of the homeless people who are wandering around.” Nothing about helping them, providing rain gear, or even shelter.

Just warnings, assuming being unfortunate equals being criminal.

There were people who were more compassionate towards stray animals than they were towards down-and-out people.

And of course there have been the isolated looters too, people who are no different in an emergency than on a typical Tuesday afternoon.

The effects of Florence won’t be over for months, maybe years.

But if we could hang onto that feeling of camaraderie, that feeling of taking care of each other, of neighbors looking out for neighbors, maybe there will be lessons learned, hearts healed, relationships restored.

Let’s try.

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