The recent blizzard impacted me in many different ways. It was the worst winter storm I ever remember since 1947. That 1947 storm so paralyzed the area that it forced local governments in the Milwaukee region to buy more modern and more powerful snow removal equipment.
This storm was so severe that it caused even enclosed shopping malls to shut down for two days. Schools were obviously closed. Bus transportation was called home and off the roads. People were stranded in their autos on the Interstate highways for miles and miles. I could go on and on.
Through the worst of the storm, we re-discovered ourselves. Regardless of age, sex, race, religion, ethnicity, etc., people helped others. Women helped women dig out their cars from the snow. Men helped push women out of snow-covered spots. Kids shoveled the sidewalk and entry-walks for elderly people. Neighbors came over to ask if they could help a neighbor in need. People with physical disabilities were helped by neighbors. People who did not know the other person, nevertheless lent a helping hand. Where stores, food supplies, snowplows, etc. were unavailable, people stepped in to help someone in need.
All this empathy, all this sharing, all this goodness was done for others, regardless of political persuasion. Nobody asked first if you were a Republican or Democrat, a liberal or conservative, a Jew or Christian or Muslim. We saw each other as we should see each other, as human beings. Nobody had to show citizen papers. No one asked to see your birth certificate. Nobody cared about the God you prayed to. Nobody made you qualify by the color of your skin. Social status or economic status were of no importance. It was the best in how human beings can conduct themselves.
Why do we need tragedies or disasters to reach back to find our empathy, compassion, and sharing personalities? Perhaps more importantly, why do we require all these identities before we understand that we are all human beings? Why do we expend so much of our efforts to prove we are different from someone else? You are my brother or sister, why do you have to qualify beyond that?
Until we get to the point where we stop looking, peeking, digging, noticing, checking, snooping, etc. to find out how we are different, we cannot truly call ourselves "civilized." Why is it so foreign for us to act at least occasionally as if "I am my brother's keeper"? We seem to take sadistic delight in seeing differences and play "gotcha" when someone does not toe the line according to our designated rules.
I salute my brothers and sisters for acting as brothers and sisters in the wake of this recent snowstorm.
I hope I can take the time to notice an abundance of human kindness being practiced with others, regardless of some nasty designation, more often. Now, more than ever, we need to finally become civilized enough to stop excluding and start including.