The heart of the snowstorm, no matter where you are from.

My last post was a little snarky jab at how Northerners and Southerners approach snow differently.  It was meant to be silly in a way – for both sides of the coin.  If you didn’t have a chance to read that post, check it out here…and then come back to something with a different tone altogether.

Yes, the South was just crippled by a couple of inches of snow.  Let’s stop making them a punchline and step back a bit.

Yes, I said “let’s” because on Monday when the forecast was calling for a couple of inches of snow, I was one of the ones joking about how that was going to shut down Georgia for the day.  The bread and milk would be depleted from store shelves.  Blah, blah, blah.

I quickly stopped my jesting when I realized how serious the situation quickly became when the snow did start to fall.

There are enough news stories, articles, blogs, rants, etc. out there poking jabs at how crazy those Southerner’s were.  How unprepared everyone was.  How bad decisions were made by those in leadership positions.  How it shouldn’t have happened the way that it did.

Then there is the other side.  The ones from folks that were living through it, asking the Northerners to cut them some slack, give them a break.  It wasn’t the snow that crippled the South, it was the ice, and the sheer volume of people that live in the affected area trying to get to their children.  To their homes.  And they couldn’t.

I can think of several personal friends of mine that spent no less than 8 hours in their car just trying to get home.  None of them had a long commute, 30-60 minutes tops on a normal day.

I tried to imagine being one of them.  Trying to get to my children.  Trying to get home.

And then the amazing happens.  The heart of the storm.  You may not have heard about this part, but I bet it sounds familiar.  It will resonate with my Northern friends because I see it happen often in my own Maine town.  On my own street.

When the snow starts to fall, when the ice halts everything – look for it and you will see amazing things happening all around you.  

Strangers helping someone get their car out of the ditch.  Neighbors heading across the street with their snow blower or plow truck to help each other out.  Meals taken to those who may be home-bound. People checking up on each other to make sure all is well.  The recent ice storm in mid-Maine really brought it out.  Neighbors helping neighbors because it was the right thing to do.

As a child I remember our snow days in middle Georgia.  All 5 or 6 of them.  Everything was quiet.  Calm.  Still.  Peaceful.  All because I was safe at home.  I would  play in the snow and enjoy each and every rare moment of it.  The world seemed to stop and I would just watch in awe.

Well, this week’s Southern storm wasn’t exactly like that.  People needed each other. People were helpless.  There was even a baby born on the perimeter in Atlanta.  It was scary.   It was maddening.

And this is what they did with it… many looked past the crappy situation that they were in and opened up their eyes and hearts to those in need around them.  People welcomed complete strangers into their homes and offered them a warm place to sleep, food to eat, and a place to wait.  They delivered hot chocolate and coffee to weary commuters near their homes.  Retail locations became shelters.  Teachers and students found themselves having unplanned slumber parties in their schools, complete with pizza and fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies.

People who would have very likely never noticed each other, needed each other desperately.  Income levels didn’t matter.  Social standing didn’t matter.  Race didn’t matter.

Granted I am way up here, 1,400 miles away from the situation, but I was proud of my home-folks, as I am proud of my Maine neighbors when times of need arise.  Desperate and scary times and situations that are beyond anyone’s control generally bring out either the best or worst in people.  

And from my sideline view, all I could see was heart.

And I couldn’t be prouder.

 

For more random acts of kindness, check out this series of stories complied by GPB News.  

Have a great story of heroism or heart to share?  Hop on over to the GracefulMess Facebook page.  I would love to hear more.  

Jennifer Collins

About Jennifer Collins

Jennifer is a mom with a day job and she likes to write about her victories and messes along the way. She is living an adventurous life as a Georgia transplant learning to thrive in Maine, with a strong Southern accent that screams that she is "from away" and a new-found love for lobster rolls and timely snow plows. Jennifer's writing has been featured on BlogHer, iVillage Australia, Daddy Doin' Work, and Girl Body Pride.