The Gift of Caring: Extreme Weather Preparedness
Weeks before Christmas. NYC. Uptown Manhattan. I’m in a room full of frighteningly extraordinary people: religious leaders who practice the art of disaster chaplaincy. Spiritual care givers, they are angels of hope to victims of mass trauma. I am the only Canadian in the room and the sole participant not affiliated with a religion. I have travelled 350 miles for this two-day “disaster chaplaincy” training, run by the National Disaster Interfaith Network (NDIN), where religious leaders learn how to prepare to serve in emergencies.
When the facilitator, Peter Gudaitis, CEO of NDIN asks us to tell what gifts we have brought with us to share, I have no idea what to say, I, who have not witnessed the terror of 9/11, who cannot conceive of the horror of Sandy Hook, or the Orlando shootings, who knows nothing about the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, Harvey, Irma, Maria.
I am filled with their brightness. We seem worlds apart.