January 10, 2023

Kick at the Darkness 'til it Bleeds Daylight*

The other day I received a text from a good friend. She moved away last year and I miss her. In her text she told me that I have endured more than my share of adversity, and feeling the way I did that day, I shed a tear and agreed with her. On December 21st, near the end of a long cold snap, a pipe burst in the roof of our condominium building and caused the flooding of the four suites below, including ours. The flood is just the latest in a string of disasters affecting my husband's work life and our private life over the past few years. I'm not sure these calamities constitute more than my(our) fair share of problems, I know everyone has problems. We're all still dealing with the fallout from this Covid19 pandemic for starters, Ukraine and Russia are at war, my home province is still repairing the catastrophic damage from the atmospheric rivers in November, 2021 (I see you, Northern California!), Etc., etc., etc.

Last evening, as I was walking my usual route around the staff housing portion of the resort where I am  living with my husband while our apartment gets restored, it occurred to me that I was currently in a state of high alert waiting for the next bad thing to happen. My husband had driven to Vancouver early yesterday and was expected home around 8 pm - I realized I was bracing myself in case he got in an accident. I've been half expecting our resort accommodation to burn down because that would be just our luck, wouldn't it? I was nervous on our first day of skiing that I would fall and break something. None of these things have happened, but I am wondering when I will stop expecting them to. I'm usually a fairly positive person, but I am beginning to understand how a person becomes negative. I really, really don't want to become a negative, pessimistic person who worries all the time, so I have developed some coping mechanisms to get me through this seemingly endless period of adversity. Here they are:

1) I firmly believe that every tough experience we have is leading us to something better. Sometimes this 'something' is not evident for a long time, but more often than not, when I look back on an event or a trying time in my life, I see how, in the long run it was a good thing, even if it was really hard at the time. A 'When one door closes another opens' sort of thing. All my experiences, especially the bad ones, teach me something, even when I completely resent the teacher at the time.

2) I look for all the little graces in the middle of the chaos; i.e., my husband and son were with me when the condo flooded. I didn't have to deal with it on my own. When I had my head injury two and a half years ago, I had people to take care of me and a deck to sit out on and watch the season turn ever more golden in the yard. While three of my children did not make it here for Christmas, one did and we had a great time being sick together, haha. (No, seriously, it was lovely, and we had great video visits with the others. Thank you, technology.)

3) I find ways to get outside and feel small in nature. I have never known a day that was not made better by a walk in the woods or to a body of water. Sometimes a little perspective and exercise is all I need to get myself through the day. 

4) Hugs, and lots of them. And books. And murder mysteries on TV. And chocolate.

The other night, when I was walking in the dark, I came upon one of the street lights that are scattered around staff housing. Lacey snowflakes were falling ever so gently in the light cast from the lamp. I stopped to watch and remember, in the grand scheme of things, how lucky I really am. 

*'Kick at the darkness 'til it bleeds daylight' is a line from Bruce Cockburn's song, Lovers in a Dangerous Time