The idea that “the world is your oyster” is originally from Shakespeare. It suggests that the world is the equivalent of a closed shell, and that it is ours to enjoy and profit from, in the old sense of gaining or benefiting or being rewarded — because when we look within we find a treasure, a pearl.
What initiates pearl-making? A bit of grit.
What do you need to get through a disaster like Superstorm Sandy? A bit of grit.
We see it in the resilience that helps us cope with loss, fear, and devastation, and in the recognition that the world has changed — and has changed, in some ways, beyond recognition.
We see it in the mental toughness — that bit of grit — that lets us make the best of the worst and soldier on through days and nights with no power, no heat, no light, none of our usual instant connection to the wider world.
I’m so grateful that everyone I love is safe.
And I mourn for the losses –
Of strangers’ lives, of beloved possessions, of work time, of necessary vehicles and houses —
Perhaps most of all –
For the loss of peace of mind.
And the pearl?
We see it in neighbors checking on neighbors, sharing meals and water, and offering showers and outlets for recharging everything –
And the dedication of out-of-state power crews and local volunteer EMTs –
And the brightening reassurance of a kind nod and the warming squeeze of a shoulder.
May we always have sufficient protection — the shell –
And the strength to cope with whatever comes — the grit –
And the ability, still, to recognize what is good and beautiful and possible in life — the pearl.
The world can still be our oyster — even when it’s Sandy.