Thankful For The Small Things
July 9, 2012 § 3 Comments
“Time has a way of showing us what really matters.” ~ Margaret Peters
I’m not one to take things for granted. I’m eternally appreciative for what I have – my family and friends, a most satisfying career, good health beyond being diabetic, and a bevy of interests to keep life fun.
Mother Nature forced an unexpected extended vacation at the end of June and a reminder to be grateful for the small things.
Joyce and I were returning from a vacation on Vancouver Island and were driving through torrential rain in the interior of B.C on June 23. We phoned ahead to Valemount, an hour west of Jasper, to book a hotel for the evening.
Just as well we did. Highway 16 east to Jasper and west toward Prince George were closed – a washed out road and mudslide respectively.
Once we arrived at the Super 8 in Valemount, there was a brief window of opportunity to head home when the road re-opened briefly. But we were already settled for the evening and thought we could leave the next day.
Wrong! Repeated delays throughout that Sunday meant we would be staying at least one more day.
Other options such as heading south to Kamloops and then east to Calgary were not in the cards as there were road closures around Revelstoke. Driving into the U.S. and back up through Alberta was a no-go as we didn’t have our passports with us.
Another option suggested was to drive south to Little Fort and west to 100 Mile House, and up through B.C. Bridge and ferry outages would prevent that.
But we did not feel stuck. Quite the opposite.
Valemount is a pretty town. And we would learn there are friendly, helpful and welcoming residents, who would soon incur their own difficulties – the community’s water system was knocked out of commission due to flooding. A local state of emergency was declared.
That didn’t stop a local pointing us to a store where we could buy water or residents welcoming visitors into their homes after hotels, motels and bed and breakfasts reached capacity.
The general manager at the Super 8 was still smiling after a 20-hour shift (some of the hotel’s staff couldn’t get to work as they live on the other side of the mudslide on the way to Prince George).
There was almost a carnival-like atmosphere as visitors wandered around the town, approaching complete strangers to see if they had news on when the highway would be re-opened.
I was amused that a local helicopter company was quick to react with an entrepreneurial spirit by promoting their services on the side of the highway.
Switching on the television news on the Saturday evening made us feel even more thankful.
Flooding in southern B.C. had wiped out numerous homes and put countless people on evacuation notice. There were stories about forest fire activity in Colorado and Newfoundland. A whitewater rafting accident on the Kicking Horse River had claimed a life.
Yes, we were inconvenienced and would not make it back to work on schedule.
Oh well. We were safe, sound and still basking in the glow of a wonderful vacation that took us around Vancouver Island, over to Mayne Island and on to Richmond, a neighbouring city to Vancouver.
Meanwhile, that same weekend, my friend Natalie Harper, a public relations specialist in Edmonton, made a post on her Facebook page that seemed so fitting to connect to this post:
“I’m convinced that one of the key variables to feeling happy is surrounding yourself with happy, positive and inspired people – the people who uplift you, and you uplift in return,” she wrote.
“I’ve learned I don’t want to be around negative ‘downer’ people – people who are users; people who take others for granted; people who complain about everything; people who don’t appreciate what they have; and people who don’t at least TRY and better themselves, their community, and their life.
Sadly, there are so many people like this out there. But, we can control who we want in our lives. Step one for me is keeping the shiny, happy people around, and giving the ‘downers’ a boot!”
Natalie is right on. It’s okay to feel down. We just don’t need to take others with us. And most often, realizing there are others worse off than us should snap us back to how good most of us really have things.