Tag Archives: storm

A Test of Gratitude

After spending 5 days in Melbourne, where it dropped to 7 degrees in the nights and mornings, I was looking forward to returning to the warmth of Sydney, where at least autumn temperatures are supposed to be warmer.

Unfortunately, nature seemed to have other plans for us, as the state of New South Wales was hit by one of the worst storm winds in decades, causing over 200 000 homes to lose power, deaths, and traffic disturbances.

Here in the valley below the Blue Mountains, the most inconvenience we have suffered is the loss of hot water and heat. That’s all. I know people could go on about how freezing cold our water is (as if the weather isn’t cold enough) and how we’re shivering under our blankets at night because our heaters aren’t working, but if we just look at the people who have had to evacuate because of the floods and storm, we are so much more fortunate. On top of that, the accommodations office actually took the trouble to assign us alternative rooms for sleeping and bathing (I took the bathing option, just not the sleeping one). I surprised myself by feeling gratitude for all that has been arranged, instead of feeling like a victim of circumstances. All that mindfulness practice must be more useful that I thought possible. More incentive to strive on.

Today the skies and winds are calmer, and we finally see the sun. But the homes without electricity are estimated to go on without for another week, until the affected infrastructures are repaired. The roads and tracks which have been damaged will take time to repair. The lives which have been lost will never be recovered. Praying and thinking deeply for all those who are going through difficult times.

The Day I Braved The Storm

This happened a few days ago, but I’ve waited till now to write about it because I felt the need to reflect on the experience (and get over the trauma, the horrible trauma…)

It was the day after Mum went back. Feeling a little lonely and not wanting to stay in my room for the rest of the day, I decided to go to the nearby mall and read at a cafe. To be alone with my thoughts, yet surrounded by the warmth of strangers I have no obligation to talk to. You know, the usual comforting activity.

The weather was fine. The sky blue. The clouds, white and fluffy. Without checking the weather forecast, I went out.

What a mistake that was going to be.


The sky started darkening when I stepped out of the mall, 2 hours later.
“Better get home quick,” I thought.
To my dismay, the next bus was scheduled to come in 20 minutes.
Still, I held on to the hope that I would be able to get back before the storm broke.
I was on the bus when the winds became really strong and the rain started pelting down. Through the glass panels, I saw trees bending at angles I did not think possible. My heart gave a little shiver. I saw passengers who alighted at stops before me, have their hair whipped into a tangled mess. I gulped as my stop neared.

Gripping my umbrella tightly, trying to ignore the little voice inside me telling me that it’s going to be useless – I stepped out of the bus and into the rain.

And immediately, I felt as small and helpless as a butterfly in a tsunami.

The wind not only drenched, but chilled me to the bones. Each step seemed to stretch into forever. In those few seconds, I literally thought I might die, either from the fierce winds, or from being blown away!

I took gasping breaths as I ran, as quickly as possible, to the nearest shelter – the library building. There, still 15 minutes away from home – I waited for my breath to catch up with me. And hoped that the winds would die down.

Thankfully, it did slow, though the rain did not abate. The last stretch home was less treacherous, but included navigating through numerous puddles of rainwater (poor shoes took an entire day and night afterwards to dry out).

The best part?

When I finally reached my house, panting, drenched and exhausted from the war – I lifted my room’s blinds and saw – BLUE SKIES. WHITE CLOUDS.

It was a passing storm, and I just HAD to pass by with it.



I suppose this is a testimony to the saying that whatever doesn’t kill you will make you stronger.

And, no storm lasts forever.

Also, as I look back on those few moments when I seriously thought I wasn’t going to make it, when my heart was gripped with paralyzing fear – I realize it was also at those moments when I was praying most fervently. And prayer did give me strength to brave through the cruel winds and take every step I did, despite my fear.

For about 2 days after that experience, I was actually paranoid about the weather and did not want to go out for fear of meeting another freak storm again! But when I think about the experience from such a perspective, I can fall back on knowing that everything happens for a reason, and we can still try to find meaning in our seemingly negative experiences. In this case, even though the storm was a negative experience, it gave me a chance to find strength through prayer, which I might not do under normal circumstances. I think that’s one way of looking at the experience under more positive lens. And with that, I hope to dispel my paranoia and move on.


And oh yes, the most important lesson of all: Check the weather forecast.