A heaping dose of perspective

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Picture 260

(It doesn’t look like this now, but it will soon)

The Heaven’s have aligned and I am back home after twelve days of living in a hotel room with my puppy dog.  I can’t even find the words to describe how it feels to be home – and that is a first for me!

I ran the gamut of emotions while I was under that temporary roof.  I was grateful to have that roof over my head and friends who cared enough to offer me a plethora of living options, but my frustration was undeniable.  I’m sure the bureaucratic red tape at a certain energy company tangled the process and elongated my hotel stay by at least five days.  But, I digress.

I flipped the breaker myself earlier today and was warmed by the glow of light coming from my windows.  In the days preceding I had been stopping by to check the progress of the work and my house sat lifeless on my property.  No light emanated from my windows and it sat as a cold, empty shell where there once was life.

There is still a noticeable chill in the air, inside, but I am home.  All of my electronics work and nothing else was damaged in the ordeal.  The only thing I had to do was call Bell to help download the guide for my satellite to get it working again.  The lovely woman I spoke to was in the Philippines.  I’m sure you have all seen the news of the devastation in the Philippines and, while she was personally unaffected, members of her family have lost everything.  We had a very fortuitous conversation that allowed me to truly put my seemingly overwhelming problem into the perspective it deserves.

I still have a home.  I still have all of my belongings and I have a large collection of friends who would be there for me if I ever needed them again.  I didn’t lose everything.  I don’t have to wonder how I will recover from such a devastating loss and I don’t have to mourn family and friends who didn’t survive.  These last twelve days were really just a hiccup in my existence.

670,000 people are now homeless and countless have not survived in the Philippines.  It really makes my previous rants seem so selfish and I will keep those people in mind the next time I want to complain about an infinitesimal problem in my life.

What I learned about giving thanks

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This weekend is Thanksgiving for me and my fellow Canadians.  I have enjoyed many family celebrations and each year that we are able to get together for a family gathering, we are all thankful for those moments and for the people in our lives.  This year I was given a truly different perspective on what it means to be genuinely thankful.

Each October the family I work for invites their extended family to the lodge for Thanksgiving.  And each year, one of the older couples ventures North for the holiday with their foster children.  This year there are five of them.  Over the last fifteen years, a myriad of young faces have come and gone through the lodge but the expression on each of those faces, I’m sure, is the same.  It is the look of hope.  The joy and sense of togetherness they feel, on this weekend in particular, hopefully renews their faith in family.

There have been so many stories told of what these poor children have endured throughout their young lives.  These foster children are survivors of terrible atrocities that no human, much less a child, should ever have to experience.  With the love of their foster parents, these children are given a chance to, not only succeed but, be part of a family tradition that they may never have experienced in their troubled past.

Selfishly throughout my life I have silently thanked God for the bounty we are about to receive, having never given any thought to what I really should be thankful for but my perspective has been altered.  This Thanksgiving I am thankful for people like Marilyn and Fred – people who open their homes and their hearts to give a child a second chance for a life full of love and family.

This will be one of my most memorable Thanksgiving weekends and I look forward to seeing that same look of hope on some new faces next year.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.