As I write this, over half a foot of snow has fallen on Malverne, Long Island, just days after a massive hurricane devastated our region. There is much beauty in the snow of course, but for so many right now, the snow has just accumulated atop piles of rubble and mounds of stress.
We've been very lucky at our home--only lost power the night of the hurricane when a transformer outside put on a fireworks display that both awed and scared me. The power was only out for about 8 hours. Too many others, though, have still been without power and heat for the past 10 days now. Many lost their lives, many more their homes and cars, and for them, life before October 29th is now just a fading memory.
So how can we tap into our highest spirit--the highest spirit--during times like this? How can we best comprehend that which is beyond comprehension, and dwell on the in-dwelling spirit of our Source?
God didn't send these storms, nature did. And God didn't save some people and let others die. I don't put my faith in a version of the divine that chooses whom to save like some judge at a beauty contest. God doesn't pick and choose the suffering, life does, and life is fickle and unintentional. It breathes with the wind and floats with the seas. We are at the mercy of creation while we live here on Earth, not at the whim of the Creator.
But the spirit within us is the same Spirit that brought us all into being, and when we tap into that divine love, we are embraced whether we realize it or not, are cared for and about, even through disaster.
During Hurricane Sandy, while most of us were huddled indoors, maybe under blankets watching the winds whip our trees around like toys, emergency workers, police officers, and firemen were driving around helping people, saving lives, keeping everything together as best they could. Though nature won many battles that night, human beings risked their own lives to protect strangers.
The spirit we all call to in times of tragedy and suffering is living within each human being around us as well as ourselves. We need only turn to our left or our right to see the face of God. Here in New York, and I imagine all over the area and beyond, so many acts of divine kindness have shown up hour after hour--minute after minute--since Sandy hit. Neighbors who've never spoken to each other before are exchanging phone numbers and hugs. Strangers are reaching out to strangers, and helping them survive in the mean, cold conditions we face. As my friend Roy put it so beautifully, "I am so very heartened by the heroic, generous, and selfless response of neighbors, family, and strangers who are reflecting the face of the Creator during these dreadful days."
So when you cannot see or hear the voice of God, or feel God's presence during life's roughest times, remember that God's Light is not in one location, but spread out in billions of people across the earth. We need only turn to one another for help, for solace, for warmth of body and soul when life's darkness seems to crowd us. Within each and every human being is a light of joy and peace that echoes the purest light, the purest Spirit of our Creator.
Many people are struggling in endless ways right now--as so many do every day on this planet. For those hurting souls and bodies, they struggle to tap into the spirit within them, and cannot light the way for themselves. That is when we must be gods for one another, bringing those people the light and peace of purest consolation. We are the light and we are the solace people need. We have it within us to give, to be God for others.
If you are dealing with suffering or pain right now, if life's struggles or Mother Nature herself is taking you round for round, turn to your family, your friends, your neighbors, or even strangers if you have to, and ask them for help. And if you are one of the lucky ones, be the light and warmth you would want from others if the situation were reversed. Be God for your sisters and brothers. The Spirit isn't only a Heaven-to-Earth connection. It's a power grid between each one of us that even the worst of life's storms can never knock out.
This article was originally published online at http://www.examiner.com/article/finding-spirit-the-wake-of-tragedy. For more articles by Malverne resident Sean Patrick Brennan, go to: http://www.examiner.com/sacred-living-in-long-island/sean-brennan.