By Younas Chaudhary
A storm destroyed my dream home.
August 21, 2017 is a day that I will never forget. Hurricane Harvey rolled into Houston and destroyed my dream home. I purchased my home in 1995 and rebuilt it in 2002. The “big house” as we called it had 25 bedrooms, 7 kitchens, 26 bathrooms, 12 living areas, gazebo, steam rooms, hot tub, pool, movie theater, gym and many other modern amenities.
In just a few hours, the hurricane destroyed my home and took precious memories with it. The losses ran into millions of dollars. Unfortunately, my insurance claim was denied which I continue to fight.
We lived in the big house from 1995 until Hurricane Harvey destroyed the home in 2017. We lost almost everything including expensive furniture, valuable paintings, photo albums, and lots of memories. My wife, Bushra, who suffers from Parkinson’s Disease and dementia could not bear the sight and her condition quickly deteriorated after this devastating incident. This was our haveli in Houston and my wife knew every nook and corner of her home and was very much attached to it.
Adversity strikes us in unusual ways and until it hit home, I never realized how powerless we are in the face of nature’s wrath. At first, I asked: “Why me?” Later, I reconciled and thanked God that we were all spared and only lost material possessions.
I began to realize that God was testing my resilience for something bigger and better in future. Over the next few years, I rebuilt the big house, but I moved to a new home in the Galleria area in Houston and also relocated my offices. I am blessed to say that in my new home and new office, I have been doing exceedingly well, healthy, with a positive attitude. I believe we overcame the adversity and losses we suffered from Hurricane Harvey.
My ambitions are killed.
In 1972, after a rigorous selection process, I was qualified to enter the Pakistan Military Academy (PMA) in Kakul. I was so happy and wanted to build a career in the military and to serve my country. Often, I dreamt of being a highly decorated army officer but that did not last long. In a few months, I was discharged for no reason and had to pack my bags and return home. My pride was swallowed, my ambitions were diminished, as I had lost what was a glamorous job in Pakistan in those days.
I was devastated and stayed in my room for weeks. I took this really hard until I finally decided to overcome the adversity, leave Pakistan, and migrate to Canada in late 1973.
At that time as a young man, it was unknown to me that God had way bigger and better things planned for me to do in a country called America.
My wife is diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease.
In 2014, my wife Bushra was diagnosed with the Parkinson’s Disease and dementia. I had no idea about this disease until I started seeing her memory deteriorate day by day. She has been living with this debilitating disease for the past eight years.
None of us thought that this could have happened to her as she lived a healthy lifestyle. Today, her memory is lost, she acts and behaves like a young child, and she is fully cared by 24-hour caregivers. Her condition took a toll on me and I moved inward. For the first three to four years I was very depressed, once again wondering: “Why God?” But with the passage of time, I learned to live with a positive attitude through the adversities. I keep myself busy as it is hard to live alone, though I have become used to this lifestyle.
Here are a few lessons I have learned to deal with various adversities:
- Be positively resilient, irrespective of the losses.
- Be disciplined, persistent, and consistent and continue to work hard despite the hurdles.
- Eat healthy food on time, exercise daily, with a focus on staying happy and healthy.
- Remember, adversities are the tests and not punishments from God. Instead, it is God testing you, your patience, and your resilience, thereafter you will be rewarded abundantly.
- After each adversity, God gives you something bigger and better to look forward to. So, during any material loss or other misfortune, do not think this is the end of the world. Keep in mind, if you pass the test with a resilient and cheerful outlook, God has much bigger and better things waiting for you. Blessings!
The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this article are my own and do not represent the opinions of any entity with which I have been, am now, or will be affiliated. Further, I make no warranty regarding the accuracy or effectiveness of my recommendations, and readers are advised to consult other advisors as well as their own judgments in making business decisions.