Celebrating Our Fortune

May 3, 2010 § 2 Comments

I love to drive, particularly when there’s interesting terrain. It doesn’t get any better than going from Banff to Jasper along the Icefield Parkway, and then north via Highway 40 to Grande Prairie.

One reason I enjoy getting behind the wheel is that I find it relaxing, a great time to contemplate life, particularly on a beautiful, albeit long journey.

This past weekend, my thoughts turned to just how fortunate we are to have such a spectacular playground in our backyard – a photo opportunity around every corner of the highway – as I passed by one fabulous vista after another on my way home through the Mountain Parks.

I can’t wait to go back this summer and spend more time, camping and hiking.

We in Western Canada are certainly lucky to have Banff and Jasper National Parks so close. Countless tourists flock to the region year-round to take in their splendours and share our fortune for a few days, or longer, for sightseeing or recreation.

Then there is Rena, a young, effervescent New Zealander my wife and I met while having lunch at the Jasper Brewing Co. on Sunday. The pub is a good spot for her to earn cash and check out a country she’s already fallen in love with after six months.

What a great opportunity!

I also had a reason to consider how blessed I am in another way while on my trip to southern Alberta, which included a visit with my brother and his family in Canmore and taking in the Alberta Municipal Communicators Conference, held in High River on Thursday and Friday.

My brother was telling me about his close friend, Dave, who doesn’t have long to live because of a terminal brain tumour, but is managing to live with dignity, grace and a sense of humour.

It is a second time in recent weeks I have learned of someone so full of life but whose time is cut short.

Here in Grande Prairie, Samuel, who had been a political prisoner in Uganda for seven years, died a few weeks ago, shortly after learning he had a brain tumour.

Samuel, whose daughter was born while he was in prison, only knew this child for 14 months.

Why does it seem that often the people with the most reason and desire to live have their lives end far before their time?

There is no logic. The only sense we can make of it is that we need to make the most of the time we, ourselves, have.

When people like Samuel pass on so quickly, it’s a reminder that we should celebrate the fortune we have. We may not feel like getting up in the morning or have a minor ache or pain, but there are always people who are worse off.

What will you do to celebrate your fortune? I think I will plan my next trip to the mountains.

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§ 2 Responses to Celebrating Our Fortune

  • Clint Cora says:

    Yes, I’ve been on that highway between Banff and Jasper. Never been on that route to Grande Prairie though. We only have tiny bumps for ‘mountains’ here in southern Ontario but that doesn’t stop me from getting up on the ski slopes that we have over here 2-3 times per week all winter long. Each time I’m out there, I consider it enough of a fortune for me. Of course, I’ll also enjoy my odd trip out west as well 🙂

  • As a sidenote to this post, we lost a fun-loving workmate at the City of Grande Prairie this past week (May 10). Frank Drodge worked in Facilities and was also the drummer for the band Anywhere But Here. He had just turned 50 and was proudly looking forward to some upcoming engagements, including Municipal Government Day and the Christmas Party in December. Frank did march to the tune of his own drum beat. He brought good cheer to everyone around him, regardless of position. He was so full of life. Another person who leaves us too soon. Keep the beat going, buddy. As Bob Seger sang on Live Bullet … Rock and Roll Never Forgets.

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