Watching all the precious people in the Northeast suffering through Hurricane Sandy is a cause for many prayers and compassion.

It reminds me of what happened right after 9/11. Neighbors pulled together.  People we walked by every day without speaking to became those we felt a kindred spirit with on a whole new level.

Crisis is not something we ever want to go through, but gifts emerge and the best gift of all is discovering new people.

Ron and I are safe in Raleigh right now, but if I was in our apt. building in NYC, I’d be listening to doors open in our hallway so I could walk out at that moment and ENGAGE, asking the neighbors we rarely see how they and their families are faring, and find common ground.

These “crisis conversations” open doors to ongoing relationship-building.  Those of us who endured 9/11 together are still bonded in unique ways.

Suffering feels the same regardless of the package. It shows us our weaknesses and pulls out strength in others.  We learn to take time and pay attention, to get out of ourselves and into others who need us.

I want to be better at all of this….reaching out of busy routines to discover people who daily pass me by in hallways and on elevators.

One of my lavish friends Darcy, just texted a photo of friends from Africa who were supposed to be leaving for home but are now stranded.  In typical Darcy-style they are laughing, eating vanilla french toast with crispy bacon, and calling the entire experience a gift.  Darcy wrote, “Wish you were here,” and I wrote back, “I do too.”

Darcy Plimpton-Sims, a woman who shows all of us how to engage and love. This photo from the once-in-a-lifetime Paris birthday party she threw me last February, note the hand-sketched rendering of Paris in the background, Darcy doesn’t miss a thing!

Our friends Nyari and Jide from South Africa, “stuck” at Darcy and Steve’s due to Hurricane Sandy, a delightful stranding indeed!  Steve (pictured here) is as hospitable and gracious as his wife.  Note lovely table decor, typical of the Sims home.

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