Going to Winnipeg....
But we did enjoy our new life. Cliff became the Director of Star Lake Lodge which meant we as a family moved to the White Shell lake two hours from Winnipeg every summer. It was a lovely camp with an intimate, comfortable beach.
Having lived in a parsonage up till now, this was the first opportunity to buy our own home. We felt so proud of our little two story duplex with its soft yellowish rug throughout.
Actually we moved into what would be considered the poorer part of town - right beside the proverbially railway tracks - but we loved it. Especially because it was a community with house-to-house children. Our two highly social daughters had to only step outside the door to be swarmed by other similar fun-loving children. Because children are great ice-breakers, we got to know the parents in the community quickly. It felt safe, fun -- and even the regular trains that vibrated us all -- became strangely soothing as they passed through - often in the middle of the night.
In many ways the challenges I faced in North Battleford continued in Winnipeg. For one thing, our son, Syras was born - unexpectedly. Well all our children were unexpected - born at the wrong time but always welcomed with open arms.
However, I panicked. Would this mean returning again to that emotional exhaustion? Would I become depressed again--still my worst fear?
I didn't because, I had developed a kind of formula on how to deal with the disappointments and set-backs in life.
I wouldn't have been able to articulate it back then, but now in hindsight, I used a process that I will explain as "ADAPT" - acronym. It became a kind of individualized process combining White Banners - which used the word ADAPTION and Tim LaHayes' thinking.
I don't want to make too much of it - because this isn't about teaching or explaining a new idea but rather showing my journey through. This story is really an explanation of how I arrived where I did in my life.
The very first step in this journey of forgiveness that I made up for myself, is to accept what has happened. To resist, fight and deny an open wound doesn't help anyone. One accepts by identifying the cause,- and the issue that has grabbed our soul and infected our minds. After identifying that issue - there is a kind of "letting go" or "sacrificing" or "distancing" oneself from the issue. If you remember the Greendale Prophet -- that is the image I carry in my mind. "Chop it off" before it infects the entire body -- and destroys my soul. There is a switch, a threshold of choice, in our brains where we choose between the positive and negative in how we are going to respond. Or as Tim LaHaye points out. "The two most powerful human emotions are love and anger. Love is a health-producing emotion, anger is a health-destroying emotion," he writes. We choose how we are going to respond.
The next is to dramatize. Yes - dramatize. There is good and bad drama. Dramatizing helps to understand the old and visualize something new. LaHaye calls it "creative imagery." I call it writing your own story rather than letting someone or something else take over. Later, in more sophisticated therapy - it appeared again as a "sand-tray" exercise. There is something about looking at a problem in a new light, magnifying it out of proportion just to get a new angle on it , or looking at it in a mirror or the eyes of a friend. It changes it - it moves it. It prevents getting stuck.
The next is to access the learning and the meaning. It is that ability to withdraw something valuable out of the worst case scenario. This might sound contrived - but it isn't. It's a rule of the universe that there is something of value and learning in absolutely every horrible moment. Actually by this time, I would have added the book Man's Search for Meaning, by Viktor Frankl to the library of books that propelled me forward on this path of forgiveness.
The next is to be proactive - another word for positive. I call it giving it a "positive spin." This is now an action - "to do" something symbolically good. I learned this lesson on our trip to Europe which I won when I entered a drama contest. When we came back from this amazing trip - we compiled an amazing slide show that no one wanted to see. But when we talked about all the things that went wrong - like getting lost - we could be quite entertaining. Everyone loved those stories. I decided that one way to contain and prevent horrible memories to ruin our lives, is to plant an exciting memory, program a great moment, right in the middle of that dark moment. Flat tire - go out for banana split or jump into a fountain. Anything!
The last is to end up grateful for it all.
And if this process is completed correctly, there is a place of praise after it is all done. There can be no sadness when the heart is over-flowing with gratitude, thankfulness and joy.
This concept was an hypothesis much like Hannah that I was trying on for size and for love. And like any theory it was challenged every step of the way.
With Syras' arrival, I knew that I needed to go back to work to help to support our growing family.. So I applied for a grant - back then we didn't have maternity leaves, we had grants to re-educate stay-at-home moms and help them get back into the work place. It was perfect for me. The downside was that I chose Creative Communication a two-year journalism course at Red River Community College which was known to be a boot camp for writers. In fact out of 200 yearly applicants only 50 were chosen, and out of the 50 only 10% were expected to graduate.
They said I wouldn't make it because of my three children, but because of my compelling portfolio they would accept me. It was every bit as torturous as they said it would be -- but even with three children - I did graduate.
It was the worst of times and it was the best of times. We had the wolf at the door - and even the abyss - eyeing us constantly. But we were cozy and happy in our little home by the railway track.
Candace was a lovely sanguine personality, Odia was a close second with a touch of artistic talent, and then there was Syras - our baby mischievous imp.
Best of all -- even though I was tired, challenged and completely over-whelmed -- I wasn't stuck.
I was alive.
And then the unimaginable happened.....
“God has mercifully ordered that the human brain works slowly; first the blow, hours afterwards the bruise.”
― Walter de la Mare,.