Letting The Air Get At It (K.Blais)

An old wives’ tale speaks about letting a wound get air in order to heal better. Although medical opinion varies on whether on a wound site heals better covered or uncovered, I am of the belief that both physical and emotional wounds heal better when air is allowed to get in and the wound is given permission to breathe.

Hurt, betrayal, disappointment, embarrassment, and even humiliation have become emotional wounds common in life. Whether intentional or unintentional, because of simple negligence or ignorance, or because of malicious spite triggered by envy or revenge, wounds occur.

We are hurt by those we thought would never hurt us. We are betrayed by those who we believed had our back unconditionally. We are disappointed by how we are treated by others, especially when we would never treat them in the same way. We are embarrassed when we are called out in front of others, or when we are ridiculed when we least expect it. We are humiliated when we believe that what we thought would never happen to us, has indeed happened.

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So, what do we do?

Some of us may bandage it all up, wrapping the damage of the wound tightly to us. We may hide the injury away, underneath a protective covering, hoping that in time the wound will heal on its own. And perhaps the wound will heal. It may disappear entirely with only a trace of a scar or it may seep for a long while, oozing within itself, barely contained behind the bandage that holds it, before eventually healing in its own way.

Some of us may decide not to cover the wound. We may let the wound remain open, airing it out, because we believe that when we can air out our wounds they will heal more quickly and with less oozing and scarring. We leave the wound open instead of covered, baring our injury, in the hope that air and time will heal.

Airing out an emotional wound requires courage. For some it may be talking to a trusted friend about our feelings. For others it may be writing or blogging about a troublesome issue, or in a less public forum, it may mean journaling or writing private letters. In any case, the airing out is important for those people to heal.

Airing out takes courage because sometimes people perceive us as angry. They may think that we are on a rant and pissed off again. They may think we are too sensitive, that we take too much to heart, that we need to let things go a bit more. They may tell us to focus on what really matters (which is entirely subjective), and to let things roll off our backs. And maybe they are right.

Maybe we are angry and pissed off. Maybe we are too sensitive, too heartfelt, and too conscientious about justice and fairness to others. Maybe we believe that the world needs to remember that everyone has feelings and those feelings should be valued no matter who you are or what you can or cannot do for someone else. Maybe we feel that being kind will always be more important than being right.

But that doesn’t make us wrong in feeling any of these ways. Airing or ‘talking’ about when we have been hurt, when we feel wronged, even when we feel insecure can help us face our own perspective, as well as to see and hear someone else’s. We can heal faster when we realize that we are not alone, that others have felt and will feel this same, or in a similar, way. We can learn from another person’s experiences, we can receive valuable advice, or we can simply hear “I get it. I understand.”

We may be embarrassed by our wounds. We may feel childish or juvenile. We may think that we appear weak or ineffective when we allow our wounds to be exposed for anyone else to see. We may feel that we are to blame for allowing these things and/or people to hurt us, in some cases repeatedly. We may even believe that perhaps we someone deserve to be wounded.

But, it takes a strong person to speak about hurt and betrayal. It takes strength and courage to reach out and to bare ourselves and our hurt to someone else. We may be allowing patterns to repeat themselves in our lives, but that is why it is so important to air out our injuries. When things hit the air sometimes the reasons for them become more obvious to us. We are able to reflect a little more clearly on ourselves and on the situation surrounding us. We can see and evaluate the truth about ourselves and others. We can learn, we can understand and be understood, and we can grow.

It may also take time, but airing out our wounds can allow us to heal more quickly and healthily. We will still continue to be hurt by others at times, this is most likely inevitable, but perhaps we can learn to allow the air to heal us. And perhaps we may also learn how to prevent a greater wound from taking place in the future.

(photo courtesy of steptohealth.com)

Choosing Your Battle (K.Blais)

battle (noun) – an extended contest, struggle, or controversy.

principle (noun) – a moral rule or belief that helps you know what is right and wrong and that influences your actions.      (www.merriam-webster.com)

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Throughout our experiences in life, we often find ourselves having to choose our battles.

There are always (and will always be) issues or concerns that will pop up in our daily lives which we must deal with in one way or another. We may choose to address the concern, to ignore the issue, or even to file it away to be dealt with on another day. We may choose to handle one battle over another, weighing out the pros and cons, perhaps even asking ourselves ‘how much does it really matter anyway?’

There are times though, when we are more successful at “choosing” our battles appropriately. This is often difficult for us as human beings because even though we attempt to stay rational and ‘logical’, our hearts (that is our emotions and feelings) become involved and it is hard to look past the “principle” of the battle itself.

We may also find it difficult to choose to ignore  or ‘let go’ of certain issues because we may feel that they blatantly go against our own morals, beliefs, and principles. We may also struggle with injustices in certain situations, mainly because we believe that we would never treat others in the way in which they are treating someone else.

Lying often begins at a young age. Lying about something small and trivial like who took the skipping rope isn’t a huge deal in the big scheme of things, but the act of lying is. If we are going to lie about taking a skipping rope when we are young, what won’t we lie about when we are older? The art of lying becomes a tangled web which we weave and one in which we often trap ourselves.

Disrespecting another person in words or in actions isn’t ever ok, but is it as bad as physically being aggressive towards someone else? Perhaps not, but it is still wrong. We may find it very difficult to let disrespect “go” because respect is something we all deserve to be given (because it is something which we all want in return).

Being trustworthy, honest, and kind is not everyone’s goal, believe it or not. There are some who do not care if there are people in this world who actually trust them nor may they care that they cannot be trusted, how honest or dishonest they are, or even if they show kindness to others or not. It is often unclear to us as to why individuals may act this way,  which makes it very difficult to understand these actions especially when our own principles do not allow us to support, condone, or even to adequately explain this behaviour.

Let’s try to remember:

We were put on this Earth to help one another. If we can’t help one another, then we certainly shouldn’t hurt one another.

Words and inaction can inflict as much damage as physically aggressive acts. Our words and behaviours are what shape our reputation for the most part so we should choose them wisely.

We will often have no idea what battles the person next to us may be fighting. Choose to be kind over being anything else.

The Golden Rule isn’t that hard to live by – if you wouldn’t want it done to you, don’t do it to someone else. It’s that simple.

Whatever our beliefs and principles are, our own struggles and trials will come and go. We will have to choose our battles and to fight them in our own way, without losing sight of our principles in the process.

The Nose On Your Face (K.Blais)

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My nine year-old asked me an interesting question the other day.

“Mom, did you know that your eyes always see your nose, it’s just that your brain ignores it?”

Why, no, in fact, I guess I didn’t.

I mean, I knew it. I just hadn’t really ever thought about it much. I don’t always look out of my eyes and see my nose I realized, but it was an interesting question which led to some further questions of my own.

Like our nose, how much do we see that our brain chooses to ignore?

It’s like that with people sometimes, isn’t it? You may hear things about someone, but you do the ‘right’ thing and choose to form your own opinion. This itself isn’t a bad thing. It is good sometimes not to take to heart everything that you hear. You may believe whole heartedly in an individual, you are adamant that he/she is a good person, sometimes even to the disagreement of that person him/herself,  you believe in that fact more than anything, only to find out that you just couldn’t see what everyone else saw all along. Your brain chose to ignore the nose on your face.

Sometimes we are blind to the things right in front of us, even the good things. We fail to see those who truly care about us and who are, and have been, there for us in good times and in bad times (because true friends are there in both). We may forget to appreciate those people and to give them the time and respect which they deserve. (Hint: They are usually the ones who don’t demand these things from us; they are standing back silently cheering for us from the sidelines.) We may also neglect to see what in our life is positive and beneficial for our well-being. We may choose, over and over again, to push aside the things which should be priorities. Again, our brain chooses to ignore the nose on our face.

While it is extremely important not to “cut off your nose to spite your face”, (which itself could be a whole different post), we must remember that even though we don’t always acknowledge its presence, our nose is a vital part of us. While it is good to ignore it sometimes, sometimes it is also good to stare at your nose and acknowledge the demanding presence that it is on your face as well.

Fortunately, and unfortunately, we are given daily reminders of how important our nose is. We are sadly and tragically aware of how precious life is and how important it is to hold our loved ones close when we learn of a friend losing a beloved child. We are reminded of how valuable our own health is when we ourselves become sick, or a loved one does, and we need to seek out medical care. We are reminded of the importance of respecting, valuing, and cherishing our friends and family members, especially when their absence leaves a noticeable void in our lives. We may begin to miss things which once were very important in our lives, without even realizing that we had begun to ignore their importance and significance.

Perhaps we can all think of the nose question as a bit of a reality check.

What do your eyes see?

(image used courtesy of All-free-download.com)

Damned If You Do (K.Blais)

How many times have we felt this way – like we are damned if we do, and damned if we don’t? How often has life dealt us hands or placed us in situations in which there is no way possible that we can win?

Life can be like a series of no-win situations and since interactions with others are part of life it is no wonder that our relationships often follow life’s example. Sometimes no matter how hard we try, we will never win. No matter how determined we are to be kind, to attempt to please others, to be thoughtful and/or diplomatic in and about our dealings with others, we will never do enough, be enough, or please anyone, including ourselves.

It may seem that there will be no satisfying anyone because there are some who can only see the negative. There are those who seem programmed to pick out the flaws, faults, and errors which others make. For some, I suppose, it supplies an element of satisfaction to point out these shortcomings because, perhaps, it makes them feel better about themselves and their own inadequacies. It’s a fair-from-perfect strategy though – the one in which we tear someone else down in order to build ourselves up. This only becomes another no-win situation that will always result in a pattern of events which will continue to prove hurtful to everyone in the end.

When we seem determined to be “right”, to be the one who proves others wrong, or to be he who acts as a mirror to us in order to portray where we have gone wrong, we place ourselves in a position where others may begin to resent us. Few of us believe that we are perfect, most believe themselves to be far from it. Having our mistakes, however innocent, continuously pointed out to us only adds to this feeling. But, if that’s the goal of some, to keep us feeling inferior and less than adequate, then mission accomplished I suppose. When we constantly feel like we will never live up to another’s expectations, some of us will stop trying and this is when resentment builds and communication breaks down.

If you are the mirror, the finger pointer, the one who is always right and points to the always wrong, please take a moment and ask yourself why you are doing this. Is it because you feel badly about some elements in your own life that you are determined to make these things seem better by proving someone else is worse off? Or is it because you simply have a strong dislike for those you are determined to prove at fault?

If you are the reflection, on the receiving end of the pointing, the one who seems to be always wrong or at fault, please also take a moment and ask yourself why you continue to put up with this kind of treatment. Is it because you are and have always been the peacemaker and you are determined to make peace even with this? Or is it because you truly want to finally have the respect of those who are determined to prove you at fault?

People can only change when they truly want to change. Patterns and habits can be broken, but only with determination and a true desire to break them. The first step is acknowledging that there is indeed something to modify in our behaviour and the next one is admitting that we have been experiencing or causing others pain and sadness through these actions. Communication needs to happen, but everyone has to be willing to communicate compassionately and respectfully.

Hopefully there are still enough of us who like to think of the glass as half-full, but there will always be times where no matter how hard we try, we are damned if we do and damned if we don’t. The important thing is to acknowledge those life situations and relationships in which we can never win and to make a decision to move toward putting our time, energy, and positivity into the ones in which all parties feel equal, respected, and loved.

My Fall Down The Rabbit Hole (K.Blais)

In a fall down the rabbit hole, an individual sets off on the path with a goal, gets sidetracked by various events and changes direction several times along the way, eventually ending up somewhere unexpected, typically without having satisfied the original purpose of the quest. Nevertheless, the path often leads to serendipitous discoveries. Furthermore, … the meandering path may eventually turn out to be more productive than a more direct one. (Courtesy of http://whatis.techtarget.com)

  

I fell down the rabbit hole again. Contrary to Alice’s great adventure down the rabbit hole, I haven’t been off on any exciting or intoxicating adventure to a Wonderland of sorts. Nope, just living my regular life, putting one foot in front of the other.

I ‘settled’ into life again though, content with going through the daily motions and adhering to the various hectic schedules in my family’s life. I didn’t push myself to write a lot, to challenge my thinking (or anyone else’s), and my perspective didn’t vary much. I guess in the security and calm of the rabbit hole I focused on quiet for a bit.

In the quiet of falling down the rabbit hole I stopped carving out time for writing and for doing those things that I had originally planned for my own “quest”. I quit fighting against the grain of trying to fit it all in and to make it all work. I went MIA on the literary world and on other parts of my world as well. But… I began to miss those who I had developed strong bonds with, those who supported me in my writing and the other aspirations in my life, and I realized from the quiet calm of my rabbit hole that I simply only needed to reach out, to poke my head up into the light to see that those people missed me too. 

I became sidetracked by other components in my life, none of which I regret because they have led me to now appreciate and explore life in other directions. My goals have changed because of this exploration. My perspective has been jolted a bit, but in that awakening my reality has been altered. Things I once believed to be true have been challenged, but this is not a bad thing. In fact it has been exciting and adventurous (in its own way).

In meeting new individuals I have learned that unusual and different is interesting and refreshing. The known is comforting, but there is something to be said about stepping out of our comfort zones as well. Talking to and reaching out to new people, people who share common interests or don’t share in them, can vary our perspectives in a much needed way. Even talking to someone in the grocery store lineup can change the direction of our day takes us.

I was introduced to someone the other week. The woman I was being introduced to expressed that she felt that maybe she had met me before. I knew we hadn’t met, but I had seen her comments on my blogs through our mutual friend’s Facebook profile. When I told her this, she said, “Oh that’s right – you’re the writer!” Initially I was a bit surprised that anyone would officially call me that, but it was enough to make me stop and think that it was time to emerge from the rabbit hole.

A writer writes, I thought, and that is what I need to do. Couple this with some actual requests that I post again was enough to kick start me into action. Yes, it’s a busy season, and yes, blog stats say most readers drop off reading this time of year because they are so busy with their own lives, but personally I need to refocus on what truly matters in my life. 

My reemergence from the rabbit hole is on my own terms though. I’m not promising that I can still meet the demands of posting every week and that I will finally take steps towards getting published. My goals have changed and I have meandered a bit, but I’m still the same me, my own Alice of sorts, figuring life out and trying to make sense of this crazy world which I am blessed to live in and to be a part of. 

Perhaps the other ‘stuff’ in our lives takes up too much time and energy that we have lost focus on the things that we should be giving our most time to: our loved ones, our hopes, and our dreams. 

Maybe we all need to take a peek out of our rabbit holes and take a good look at the world around us – have we surrounded ourselves with things that make us proud to be who we are or have we become someone or something we swore we never would be? 

Is Your Life The Perfect Storm? (K.Blais)

Have you ever thought about your life as the perfect storm? Let’s think about it for a moment.

A “perfect storm” describes an event where a rare combination of circumstances aggravate a situation drastically. (Wikipedia)

Has there ever been a time or times in your life where you have thought that nothing else could possibly go wrong and then something else did? Have you wondered and/or had regrets about the choices you have made? Have you ever wished that you had tried a little harder, done something else that may have made things somehow different than they are right now?

Many of us have had regrets, have wished for “do-overs”, or have yearned for the road less travelled. But consider this: perhaps everything that has happened to us, the good, the bad, and the ugly, has all come together to make the perfect storm which is now our life.

The ‘perfect storm’ is a bit of an oxymoron if you think about it and consider its true definition. There is nothing perfect about a storm which creates a calamitous situation, other than that the storm is the perfection of the elements which came together to create it.

I considered this as I drove home tonight. Maybe our lives are each the perfect storm in their own way because our lives are themselves “the powerful combined effect of a unique set of circumstances” like the actual phenomenon itself.

In my own self-reflecting, I considered that perhaps I have experienced betrayal and hurt from those I thought would always support me because I was meant to reach out to others who I would learn would stand by me to ride all the waves in the ocean.

Perhaps it was supposed to be that I would find myself needing to search for ways to improve the quality of my health and my lifestyle and in that search I would find a new friend and establish a great support system with others.

Perhaps the things that have happened in which I have felt wronged, attacked, slighted, or ignored, have all happened so that my own self confidence and self awareness would grow.

Maybe we are meant to lose or suffer loss somewhat in life – our jobs, our dignity, our friends, our loved ones, in order that our situation becomes aggravated enough that we are driven to change. Maybe we are meant to lose so that the storm pushes us in the direction where we can win.

Perhaps we fight, we battle, we live, we learn through all the negative and aggravating experiences in our life so that they all come together to build us into the people who we are today. If we consider it this way, then we need the negative, the bad, and the ugly, to allow us to grow and to ‘perfect’ ourselves.

All of our experiences combine themselves into the rare and unique set of circumstances which God has intended to be our life. While in most contexts anything described as the ‘perfect storm’ is most likely to have severe and negative consequences, if we think of our life as a series of factors and components which have shaped us and formed us, then maybe we can realize that our own chaotic lives are perfect storms indeed.

Calm Amidst Chaos (K.Blais)

Many of us find ourselves racing from the minute we get up in the morning to the minute we lay our heads down again at night. We rush to get up, to get breakfast and lunches made, and then we rush out the door to get to work or wherever the day may need us. We rush around at work trying to get things done, to achieve our own goals, and live up to our employer’s expectations. We rush home to our families to get supper on the table, to get to extra curricular activities, and then to get home again to get the kids and, eventually ourselves, to bed. Our day is filled with chaos, however organized it may be, and seldom do we feel or find any moments of calm.

It occurred to me today while chatting with a dear friend, that our lives are indeed chaotic and at some point there does seem to be a need to change that. In fact, my dear friend was the one who expressed this very need! Her statement got me to thinking: Where can we find calm amidst the chaos of our everyday lives?

For some of us, myself included, we rarely take time out for ourselves. We are so busy being a parent, a spouse, a friend, a (insert job title here), that we forget that before we were all of these things, we were a person first. Interesting how we can lose ourselves in being everything else to everyone else.

Now please don’t misunderstand, I am by no means implying that being those things to others makes us any less of a person, but when our responsibilities towards everyone else take priority to taking care of ourselves, even when we need it the most, that is where we can run into problems.

So, back to the question, where can one find calm when the world around us is chaos?

Surrounding yourself with positive people is a great place to start. Your closest friends should be your confidantes, your cheerleaders, the ones who go to bat for you when you can’t bat for yourself. Surrounding yourself with positive people will help you to avoid the trap of “falling into the negative” (a quote from my dear friend). And it’s ok to do fall from time to time; that’s where those positive people will help lift you up and get you righted on the waves of life again.

Calm may also mean finding something to do for you, whether it is to find a healthier lifestyle in regards to diet and exercise, or to find a hobby or pastime that you are passionate about. Decide that calm will be something that you do only for you. Think “Me Time”.

Don’t be afraid to take a break. Take some time away from your loved ones, even for a few moments, to take some deep breaths and to refocus yourself. Squirrel yourself away to read, to soak in a warm bath, or to just sit quietly to pray or meditate on life. Unplug from technology for a bit and try to remove yourself from the negativity society tries to ram down our throats. Instead, focus on the good, the uplifting, and the positive. These things can bring calm into your world in the simplest and smallest ways.

Our world will continue to be chaotic from time to time and not much may change that short of winning the lottery and moving to a deserted island. In reality, things may slow down a bit here and there, but the important thing to remember is that amidst the chaos calm can be found if you simply know where to look for it.

CAUTION: Drifting Snow Ahead (K.Blais)

caution
I see this sign to and from my way to work every day. It’s posted on the side of the road year round and I read it each and every time I drive by.
I love this sign. Let me tell you why.
This sign reminds me to be prepared. In the winter time I am reminded literally to be prepared about this section of the street as the open fields on either side of it allow for continuous blowing and drifting snow. The blowing and drifting often make the section of the road marked with these signs a bit treacherous at times. I am also reminded throughout the other 3 (usually non-snow) seasons that I should be prepared because ANYTHING could happen.
Now I don’t mean that I am always living life in a state of worry or even anxious anticipation. There is enough stress in life without being constantly worried or anxious about what may happen next, especially from reading a road sign. I try to remember to put my trust in God when I have those moments (days, weeks) which are worrisome and when I find myself fretting over things which are beyond my control. Things like the actions of others, what others are thinking/believing, and how their actions, however insensitive or unkind, may continue to affect me or my loved ones are issues which I don’t have much control over. Usually I am wise enough to remember that it is only the ways in which I choose to deal with and handle those concerns which I can directly control.
Preparedness is much different than worry, however. Preparedness is about being mentally ready for things in life which may happen and to not only be ready for them, but also ‘being ready’ in knowing how to deal with them.
I know it is not always possible to be ‘ready’ for everything which may occur or happen to us, or even because of us, but I do find that being prepared to handle things as they may come makes a lot of sense.
Mental preparedness can be associated with traumatic events (such as mentally preparing for survival, emergencies, or disasters), and it’s even connected to preparing to change one’s lifestyle as in quitting a habit or beginning an exercise regime or diet. But mental preparedness can also be appropriate and relevant to handling crises in the smaller, everyday life occurrences as well.
Mental preparedness is not tensely waiting for the worst, but being ready to accept things as they come.
Mental preparedness is not being completely set in our ways, but being flexible enough to go with the flow and roll with the punches.
Mental preparedness is being ready for whatever may come.
Mental preparedness is also the belief that we can make things happen and that we can have faith in ourselves to overcome whatever is in our way whether it be self-doubt, weakness, or uncertainty.
Being mentally prepared also means that we strive to become mentally strong. One way to build this is through self-talk – turning pain or discomfort into a positive, perhaps by choosing a mantra or phrase which continues to motivate us to persevere.
Another way to build mental toughness is through breathing and/or meditation practices which can reduce stress and conserve energy in order to use it in more valuable ways such as problem-solving.
Chunking whatever challenge may face us into smaller issues or tasks is another effective way to build up strength in mental preparedness. If we place our focus on these smaller steps and set mini goals we will be less likely to become overwhelmed with the larger picture.
Visualizing is often an important key to preparing to handle whatever may be presented to us. Mentally rehearsing and picturing what a successful outcome will look and sound like helps to answer the questions, ‘How will I overcome this challenge?’ and ‘What will it feel like to get through this?’
Reading that road sign every day helps me to remember that life is a series of drifting snow events.
I need to hold on to the steering wheel, scan the road in front of me, and remember to have faith because whatever drifting snow may lie ahead, I will strive to be prepared for it.

Ask Me How My Day Was (K.Blais)

I had a great day today. I don’t often to take the time to say that, or to write about it. Often I find myself discussing and writing about life’s more challenging issues and moments, but today I had to take the time to say that it was a pretty great day.
Nothing hugely spectacular happened – I didn’t find an agent or publisher. I didn’t win the lottery. I didn’t solve any of the world’s major problems. I didn’t resolve any big issues which have been plaguing me. I didn’t mend any fences, or restore any bridges. I didn’t find a miracle for becoming fit and/or losing weight.
But here’s what did happen:
I woke up in a warm bed, in a warm house, beside a dog who loves me. Slipping on comfy slippers, I went downstairs where my favourite son greeted me good morning in one room and coffee was waiting for me in the other. I was going about my morning routine when my beloved daughter awoke, greeting me another good morning, and we all got ready for school/work.
I travelled to my job, where I work with the best colleagues and friends around. (I work in the best workplace environment where each and every day I feel respected and loved by my administration and my coworkers. This is the honest-to-goodness truth.) I started the day in my little world where I get to foster creativity, encourage problem solving and critical thinking, and where I get to help shape little minds and their futures.
I was privileged to spend an excellent pot luck lunch with my fabulous colleagues, sharing laughs about work, parenthood, and mommy diapers. Maybe you had to be there for that conversation. I exchanged text messages with some dear friends.
My afternoon passed by speedily including more laughs (sometimes ironic ones) and fun moments that only a classroom teacher can have, some small steps forward with some behavior intervention, followed by some shopping with my beloved daughter before her skating session.
During skating, my daughter passed her final level of her program thereby moving her up into the next program levels for next year. (So proud!) I stopped on my way home for some baby hugs from the sweetest little girl born only a couple of months ago, and I got home in enough time to put (mostly) everything away, to organize the kids into homework and baths, and to sit down to write this blog.
To me, this was a great day.
Most people often don’t take the time to appreciate the great days. My dear friend and I used to joke around about those we knew who, when asked how they were, would respond with “Great!” or “Fantastic!” Personally, I know my joking around about those “Great!” people was out of envy. I’m usually an “Ok” or a “Fine” kind of person, but I wish I was a “Great!” person to be honest. I am someone who needs to appreciate more of those great days – the ones which pass by with smiles, laughter, simple pleasures, and small accomplishments, all of which are great blessings from God.
Some weeks those great days are few and far between so we need to hold on to them and to acknowledge them when we can. Those great days can bring us light when the darker ones seem to prevail and can give us hope that things will indeed get better, when we wonder if they ever will. As much as we learn from the not-so-great days, we can learn so much from the great days as well. We can appreciate the comfort of good routines and we can cherish the fact of how our lives are simple yet sweet at the same time.
And, yes, even those great days can come grinding to a halt as my kids argue over a game, I realize that the kitchen is still a mess, and that I’ll be up later tonight than I expected.
But that’s the nice thing about great days – they don’t have to be perfect, you just have to have the perspective to realize that in all their imperfection they can still be great.

Good Enough, Part 8 (K.Blais)

Catch up on Good Enough: To read previous installments of Good Enough, please search ‘Good Enough’ in my site’s search bar.
**Please note: This text is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

Nate and I left the hospital a short time later, both of us smiling. I was amazed at how much better I felt after having coffee with Dr. Mark. I knew that Nate was in better spirits too, and it wasn’t just the sugar in the ice cream.
Nate talked from the moment we got in the vehicle all the way back to our hotel. It seemed like he had forgotten all about his broken arm, which was a good thing.
I hadn’t forgotten it though, and I hadn’t forgotten Ben’s advisement to Mark to have me psychologically evaluated. I had gone from being hurt and scared to being hopping mad about it. How dare he do this to me, anything that I was struggling with psychologically had been brought on directly or indirectly by his actions and indiscretions. I wanted to scream I was so mad.
But I knew that I couldn’t do that. I had to hold it together for Nate in order to make choices on the next steps we would take. The fact that any move I made or words I said would now be held against me wasn’t lost on me. I knew I had to be very careful.
I made a decision there and then to channel my anger into something productive. I needed to find a place for Nate and I to stay, something more permanent than the hotel here in Perspect.
Pulling into a corner store just by the hotel, Nate and I went inside. I used the ATM and took out the daily cash limit from the bank account. I was thankful that Ben hadn’t frozen the joint account we had, at least not yet. I hadn’t had the foresight to squirrel away money before leaving. It was something I now regretted. I didn’t count on Ben being ‘generous’ for long. I grabbed snacks for Nate and I and a newspaper. I was hoping there would be lots of ‘for rent’ ads to choose from.
“So, we meet again?” a voice asked as I stood at the cash waiting to pay.
Turning around, I saw Garry Rondell standing there.
“I’m not stalking you, I promise!” he said laughing as he placed his newspaper and coffee down on the counter.
I smiled, paying the cashier for our items. I didn’t seem strange to be bumping into Garry Rondell again today. Maybe it should’ve felt strange, but it didn’t.
“How’s the arm, buddy?” Garry asked Nate while also paying the cashier for his items.
“It’s good! I just had ice cream!” Nate said excitedly.
It dawned on me as I listened to them talk that Garry may know of a place to rent in Perspect or nearby, so I asked him.
“Actually, yes, I do. The apartment above my office is for rent. It just became available actually. It’s not very big, but it is warm and cozy with big windows, lots of light, completely furnished with neutral colours, and very clean. It’s right downtown so it’s pretty central to almost everything you may need.”
“It sounds great. Can I take a look at it?” It sounded perfect actually. I hoped it was half as good as Garry made it sound.
“Absolutely. I can show it to you now if you’d like.”
“That would be wonderful.”
We hopped into Garry’s vehicle for the second time that day, accepting his offer to drive us there.
As we drove to the apartment above Garry’s office, he pointed out various commodities in this area of the small town. Once again, I could tell from the tone in his voice that he had a lot of pride in and for his community. The building which housed both his office and the apartment was lovely. The architecture of this small town was both interesting and visually appealing, something which I hadn’t had the chance to truly appreciate up until now.
The apartment had its own door and entrance with a clean carpeted foyer and small staircase that led up to the open concept apartment. The walls were lined with windows and it was bright and immaculately clean, just as Garry had promised. The kitchen boasted dark cabinets and an island looking out onto the living room and dining room area. There were two bedrooms and two bathrooms, one of which was a small ensuite. It was more than I had even hoped for, so much more that I was afraid to ask what the rent was.
I could tell that Nate loved it as he darted from room to room. It was tiny compared to the house he was used to, but it somehow felt much more comforting and much more like home.
“What do you think?” Garry asked, breaking me out of my thoughts.
I turned to him, “I love it. I really do, but I am afraid to ask the price of rent…”
“What can you afford?” Garry asked softly, his eyes searching mine.
“Oh, I don’t expect any special treatment, please. I wouldn’t expect any help,” I said, looking away.
“Well, this is my building and I’m the landlord so I decide on what the rent will be. I want you to stay here, Isabella. I think you need someone to give you a break.”
I bit my lip, tears once again filling my eyes. Why were people in this town so nice? I didn’t trust myself to speak.
Garry continued, “How’s $500 a month? No first or last needed and no obligation to sign a lease. I just ask that if you need to leave that you let me know.”
The tears now threatened to fall. I knew that Garry easily could rent this place for at least double the amount he was charging me. I also knew that I had the cash on me now to cover the rent for a couple of months. It meant that Nate and I had a place to stay until I figured out what to do.
“I will take it,” I said, my voice thick with emotion, “and thank you so much, Garry. I really appreciate your kindness.”
Garry beamed. “Great! You can move in tonight if you’d like. I’m free to help.”
Even though I had already paid for the night at the hotel, I figured I would take Garry up on his offer to help us move in. We had limited luggage and within an hour, Nate and I were officially moved into our new home. We had the snacks from the convenience store to carry us over the night, so I planned on getting groceries in the morning.
Before long, I had Nate nestled into his newly made bed and he was fast asleep not much after that.
I wandered around the apartment then, taking the time to admire each nook and cranny, peeking into each cupboard and closet. Standing in front of the living room window, I pulled my sweater around me as I watched the street below. It was fairly quiet with only the occasional car passing by. The weather had grown colder the last couple of days and more leaves had begun to fall from the trees. I watched the wind pick them up and swirl them around in mini whirlwinds.
Suddenly, I heard my cell phone ring from where it sat in the kitchen. Walking over to it, my stomach clenched hoping it wasn’t Ben. I didn’t need him ruining this feeling of peace which had come over me. I recognized the number as Garry’s and immediately answered it.
“Hi, I’m sorry to bother you. I’m just around the corner. Is it ok if I stop in for a minute?” Garry’s voice warmly flooded the line.
“Oh, sure, it’s no problem at all.”
Jogging down the stairs, I hoped that Garry hadn’t changed his mind about letting us stay here. I opened the door to his knock a few moments later. He entered carrying several grocery bags.
“I brought you some food, just to tide you over until you get a chance to get some groceries,” he explained.
“Oh my goodness, you didn’t have to do that Garry! I appreciate it, I mean, but you’ve already done so much for us.”
“I was picking up groceries anyway, so really it’s nothing. I took a guess on a few things, so I hope everything is ok.”
“I’m sure it will be great, but really it wasn’t necessary.”
Realizing he was still standing there holding the bags, I added, “Oh please, come in.”
Laughing softly, Garry carried the bags upstairs for me and placed them on the island in the kitchen. I reached for my purse, “How much do I owe you for all of this?”
“Nothing – it was my idea, my housewarming gift to you let’s say.”
“This is really so nice of you, Garry.” I began pulling out the items and tucking them away into the fridge and cupboards. He had thought of all the staples. In the last bag was a bottle of wine.
“I thought you’d probably need a glass of wine after the day you’ve had,” Garry said.
“That was very thoughtful, and yes I definitely need a glass or two! Would you like one?” I asked him. Immediately, I felt badly. He had a wife and most likely a family to be getting home to. I had taken up enough of his time I was sure.
“I would love one,” he said without hesitation.
Locating the wine glasses, I poured us both a glass. “I have taken up a lot of your time today, Mr. Rondell. I need to apologize for that and I’m sorry if it has affected your business or personal life in any way.”
“It has been a very welcomed distraction. I just wish it only had occurred under better circumstances.” Raising his glass to toast, he continued, “To new beginnings.”
I smiled, “To new beginnings.”