Things Left Behind
About two weeks ago, one of my classmates left her textbook in the room. She didn’t realize it until the middle of the week when she began to prepare for class and it came up missing. She returned to the classroom and it was gone. She was certain that it was stolen. Paying the high cost of college textbooks is nothing anyone wants to do once, never mind twice in the same semester for the same class. I’m sure, she thought all was lost. The reason I know this story is because the following week in class she told the professor her dilemma and he said to her, “don’t worry about it, I found the book and put in the Administrator’s office. I knew it had to belong to one of my students and figured they mistakenly left it behind. I knew they would come back to claim it.”
I live in Connecticut, one of the states on the Eastern Seaboard that was hard hit this last week by what is now being called Super Storm Sandy. A massive hurricane turned tropical storm that devastated the US coastline from the Carolinas to Maine and literally wiped out the entire Atlantic City boardwalk and shoreline. Residents in New York, New Jersey and some parts of my own Connecticut have been without electricity or heat for over 12 days and counting. Tempers are short, people are angry and displaced. They are frustrated and sad to have experienced such tremendous loss. Many of them were forced to evacuate prior to the storm’s arrival. They left their homes with whatever could be packed in suitcases and car trunks. I imagine many of them had to leave behind things which they hoped would still be there after the storm.
The day before Sandy was expected to make landfall, I boarded a plane and flew to Denver, Colorado for a 3 day business conference that had been scheduled for months in advance. I left behind my home and my family and all my belongings and I sincerely prayed all would be safe when I returned; it was hard to leave them behind but I like everyone else in New York and New Jersey felt confident all would be fine and still here after the storm.
How does it feel when you leave something behind that you hoped would be there and it’s not?
When I returned from Denver, my home had been impacted by the storm but it was minimal damage. Superficial items that were easily repaired with a screwdriver, a few nails and some kind-hearted, reliable friends who know how to swing a hammer. But I sustained other damages from the storm that I didn’t see coming. More emotional then physical and much more difficult to repair. I had left behind my daughter, my home, my clothes, and my possessions as well as my two year relationship when I boarded the plane. The relationship didn’t make it. I was expecting it to be there after the storm had passed and I got off the plane. Maybe not in the same condition that I had left it, perhaps a little bruised and banged up like the fence and the roof shingles and the hedges, but still in tact and able to be mended.
It feels awful when you leave something behind that you hoped would be there and it’s not. It’s devastating.
It took me about a week to make the repairs to the house. I called in my friends who had ladders, tools, and more skill than I will ever have – literally it takes me a good minute or more to figure out which one to pick up when someone says hand me a phillips. Seriously why do they call it a “phillips”; what don’t call it a flat top and a groovy top?
I imagine it will take a lot longer to deal with the emotional effects of Super Storm Sandy. My friends say what all friends say, “take your time”… “we’re here for you”…. “you deserve the best”…. “go shopping” –
…thank God for girlfriends.
Lesson learned: there will come a time when you have to leave important things behind and you must do what’s necessary and what’s right but be prepared to deal with the possibility these things may not be there when you return.
I have no cure-all statement on what to do then, but you could listen to some of my friends and try shopping…