Some old school Amanda Marshall there for you guys who are nostalgic for the 2000s pop rock! But, she’s right. Everyone is the hub of what’s around them. Everyone experiences the good and the bad. Really, what makes a person is how they channel what they learn from these experiences.
So, readers, the clothing store I work at has been helping out those who have been hit with the despair that is the Fort McMurray fires in Alberta. Obviously, this is a terrible tragedy that no one deserves to have to deal with. A fire that has hit this town and wiped out a fair chunk of it. A fire that has taken homes and businesses from the residents. A fire that has made families homeless and has taken their possessions from them. A fire that has, in many cases, taken these people’s furry family members. A fire that has stolen memories. A fire that has caused proud people to have to ask for help.
The stories that I have heard over the last week have been heartbreaking. One lady said that she was at work and her husband had to pack for her when they received the order for evacuation. The only footwear he packed for her was a pair of rubber boots. Needless to say, coming home to Newfoundland, they did not go astray by any means. I’ve heard stories from people where their friends couldn’t get their car started so they had to run down the hill and let the fire take their vehicle. And some people only have the clothing on their back. The lady stuck with the rubber boots said that it has been a very humbling experience and she has been blown away by the hospitality that she has been shown during this time. Another man said today that a stranger came up to him in a grocery store here in St. John’s and just handed him a $50 bill. He felt horrible to take it but the stranger wouldn’t take no for an answer.
Obviously, I can never know what these people are feeling. Everyone interprets situations in a different way. Really, I’ve had customers who have been laughing through the stories, unsure of what else to do. There’s been customers who appear to look as though they are on the verge of tears. They all keep saying that we are blessed to be here. This could have been worse. When, some can argue, it can’t get much worse, these people are showing optimism. Whether it is them putting up that mask I keep talking about, they are doing a good job of keeping it on. I am truly overjoyed that the store I work for is doing SOMETHING! They don’t even fund-raise during the holidays for any charities. I am surprised and ecstatic that we are actually doing something.
Just to change gears a little bit here, I also had the opportunity to attend a TEDxYouth event here in St. John’s. The youth that spoke were between the ages of 12-25. They spoke of personal experiences that helped them achieve what they have been able to in their youth. As someone who is in her mid-late 20’s, I can still relate. It was amazing how much these speakers have achieved. One has her own dance studio franchise nationally; another had received a six figure scholarship when he finished high school, the 12 year old has been coding and making their own video games since they were 10!
But, what is probably the most heartbreaking of all, many of them discussed their struggles with depression. Each one had a heartbreaking story. It was my adolescence and adulthood flashing before my eyes. They really spoke to my own heart. These are kids that on the outside appear that they have it all, but they have been struggling with their own inner demons. One speaker put it quite nicely “we all have our own top secret files that we do not share.” Whether it’s this fear of not being worthy, never being good enough, no one will like the real me, there is a number of mental filters that you have to keep an eye out for.
Since I have work in 8 minutes I will leave you with a challenge. When you are feeling that you are having a negative thought, write it down. Then ask yourself if you believe this thought. Why or why not? Write that down. Continue to break down that thought until you are left with the bare bones of why that thought even entered your mind.
If those in Fort Mac can show optimism without knowing if they are going to have a house to live in, you can sit down and at least explore one thought and why this thought exists.
Time to go, can’t be late eh?
Cheers and Stay Smiling!