In the middle of the storm, it is natural for us to pray for strength to steer our boat, to seek to understand, to find hope, and to seek a lighthouse that can guide us. With our eyes wide open, we look for something on which we can hang our trust and our faith, so that we don’t succumb to the tempest.
But the lighthouse is already available to us—so close that we cannot see it—it’s the light of Jesus inside of us that gives us the calmness, the courage, the serenity and the perseverance to keep our hopes afloat, our hands on the helm of our destiny, our appreciation for the magic of the present time and what it brings us. While we are the captains of our trajectory, with the gift of our free will, Jesus is the captain of our souls.
Christina, my daughter, taught me that one can weather the worst of storms by simply saying, “Jesus I trust in you.” She died at age 11 after 5 years of battling cancer, but she always had a light inside that propelled her to live the present, be happy, make friends, dance and sing, and enjoy the gift of life. She lived a beautiful life because she fully appreciated the gift by our Creator. She told us that we can carry a cross, and by doing so, come closer to Jesus through the cross. Offering our frailties, suffering and anxieties to Jesus on the cross, his instrument of salvation, gave her peace and happiness. She transformed her suffering into a wonderful non-profit foundation for helping the poorest of the poor; Build the Faith is the name of the foundation that Christy inspired. This foundation builds the faith physically, by helping build churches in impoverished areas of the world, and spiritually, by bringing souls closer to God via spiritual retreats and other venues. Build the Faith has built a Church in Garagoa, Colombia, a convent in Jose C. Paz, Argentina, and a church in Diriamba, Nicaragua. Its next project, which has already started, is to build a church in Keniago, Ghana, Africa.
The learning here is that from the suffering, our soul gets forged, and good things follow, as with Jesus in Calvary, leading to the resurrection. A little girl transformed her disease into a beacon of light to help others be happy, enjoy the present, come closer to Jesus in the Eucharist, and improve the world.
In the middle of the pandemic, we can also transform our anxiety and despair into something good for humanity. This crisis helps the best in people to grow and flourish, by loving neighbor, by acting on our noblest desires, and by protecting the most vulnerable. This is the best opportunity, perhaps the opportunity of our lifetime, to take the time to reflect on what’s really valuable to us, how we need to fill the gaps in the love that we can give to others, how serious we are in forgiving those who have failed us, and more importantly, how and how often we communicate with our Father in heaven. Let’s follow Christy’s simple advice to reach happiness in the middle of the storm, by saying every day: “Jesus I trust in You!!!”
Fernando Dangond, MD, was born in Colombia, South America. He and his wife, Monica, live in Weston, MA, and have been blessed with two sons Daniel and David and a beautiful daughter, Christina (the inspiration behind Build the Faith) who left to be with the Lord 2 years ago.
Dr. Dangond, is a neurologist and scientist who works for a pharmaceutical company developing medicines to treat devastating neurological diseases.