Hello from New York my dear reader. It’s been quite an eventful week here in this always vibrant and resilient city. As of Sunday evening, anticipation of the imminent arrival of Hurricane Sandy swept through town and kept New Yorkers and all those passing through hidden away to take shelter.
In the days leading up to the storm, I cycled through phases of denial, great faith and great angst about what was to come. I was staying at an AirBnb apartment in the East Village and I discovered upon arrival that there would be another couple staying in the adjacent room and sharing the space with me. This triggered my worst-case scenario thinking. What if we don’t get along? What if we end up locked up in this small space for days because of the storm? What if Sandy hits the East Village hardest? What if all the hype about the hurricane is true and we’re in real danger?
Fast forward to today. It’s now Thursday and the worst of Hurricane Sandy has come and gone, but not without leaving its mark.
Before I continue with my account of the events of the past few days, I want to take a moment to acknowledge those whose lives have been greatly affected by the devastation caused by Sandy, those whose homes have been ravaged, those who have lost loved ones and those who are no longer with us. Let us all send them our love, keep them in our hearts and prayers and do what we can to support them in moving forward.
So here I am, I survived the storm and I can honestly say that it has both humbled me and reminded me of the true meaning of faith.
On Sunday evening, when I returned to my accommodations just prior to the onset of the downpour and torrential winds, I was warmly greeted by a sweet and lovely couple. The guy, a young Egyptian (like me) graphic designer, instantly reminded me of a dear friend creating the feeling that I’d known him for a lifetime. When his girlfriend, who I’d later discover was a budding filmmaker introduced herself and I heard her Aussie accent (AUS is my home away from home), my fears about my new roomies melted away. We clicked right away. We enjoyed each others company during the height of the storm, we shared supplies and best of all, we laughed and chatted in depth about life, creativity and the spiritual path. I couldn’t have chosen a more fitting pair of people to share the experience with and I felt so blessed to have their company.
After initially being so worried and fearful about the severity of the situation and petty logistical concerns, my attitude shifted from one of fear to deep faith. Amidst all of the chaos, with the lights in my room flickering just prior to the blackout, the rain tapping fiercely on my window and the wind threatening to break down our walls, I felt a sense of deep calm. I knew that I was being taken care of and supported beyond my own imaginings.
Above all, I saw very clearly that it’s during the most difficult of times that our faith is truly expressed. It’s when things don’t go as planned that the true spiritual practice begins. It’s relatively easy to claim to have faith in the Divine’s plan of goodness for our lives when all is well and good. What about when the storm of illness, loss, massive change, heartache, uncertainty and even natural disaster threatens our comfort, our plans and our sense of control? Can we still maintain a deep sense of peace and calm then? Does our faith remain or do we instead give into thoughts of fear and the worst possible outcomes?
Where in your life can you choose faith over fear?
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Chris Assaad is a singer/songwriter and inspirational artist from Toronto who left a promising career in law several years ago to pursue his dream of a career in music. Since then, Chris has been actively using his voice to enCOURAGE others to follow their dreams, express their creativity and live life to the fullest.