Finding gifts in Adversity



Trillium in Forest















In my last post, Going With The Flow,  I wrote about how I shed the restricting burden of stress I was carrying on Monday by just going with the flow and forgetting about business for the rest of the week. The result was that I had an enjoyable week with my son and his girlfriend who were visiting from Zimbabwe. The first time we had been together in 6 years. The visit was all too short, but we packed a lot into it.

After abandoning all business activity for that week, I had a busy schedule planned for the following week. Life got in the way again or perhaps God, the Universe or the Great Spirit in the Sky decided I needed another disrupted week. It was an example of finding opportunities in unexpected places, meeting new friends and doing our bit to help a neighbour in need.

Returning home from dropping my son off with his brother on Thursday night, we found a voice mail message from one of our neighbours. Earlier in the day, she had fallen and broken her lower leg and was asking us to try to get her cats into the house. By the time we got the message she was already in hospital, on pain killers and waiting for surgery. She lives alone and has 3 horses which are kept inside a barn at night. Helping her through her adversity provided me with unexpected gifts.

As good as the Canadian “Free” health system is for serious injuries and illnesses, its shortcomings become glaringly apparent for minor injuries like broken legs. Our neighbour was transferred to a larger hospital the next day but only had surgery on Sunday, returning home that evening.

I am quite useless at herding other people’s cats, they take one look at me and run. Sue has a naturally ability with most animals but she is especially good with cats, by the following day she had them under control.

We pitched in early Friday morning and met another of our neighbour’s friends “N” who we had met briefly a year or so before. We mucked out the three stalls, gave the horses their morning hay ration, took them out to their pasture, put fresh bedding in their stalls. It was about a 45 minute task. That evening we returned to bring the horse in, give them hay and an evening feed, fill water buckets and close up the barn. That is about a 30 minute task including walking over from our farm. We are all busy people, we realised that we needed to share the duties and agreed that N would do the morning shift with either Sue or I helping when we could and that Sue or I would take care of the evening shift.

Several other neighbours are helping out with meals and other errands, but there are no other horse owners close by.

Our neighbour has to wait another week before her leg is x-rayed again, assessed and the temporary cast replaced with a more permanent one. She may then be able to place some weight on that leg and move around easier than she can now with a walking frame. It will be many weeks before she is able to manage her own horses so we are looking at a protracted period of taking between an hour to an hour and a half out of our own schedule each day. But that is what friends and neighbours are for.

Here is the good part. Having had the opportunity of working with N, on our morning horse duties, I realised how fortunate I was. N is one of the most remarkable people I have met, overcome serious adversity herself, interesting, informed and inspiring to listen to. I have referred to her anonymously, because she has promised to write a post for this blog. I don’t want to steal her thunder so I will let her tell her own amazing story. It will be well worth reading. Her different perspective on many topics gave me ideas for both my business and future blog posts.

Life is wonderful, although I had another week when I did not achieve all my business goals, it was a real gift. N has lived in the area for most of her life, she introduced us to an excellent series of trails in the conservation area behind her farm where we can walk or ride our horses. To celebrate our public holiday,  we walked about 5 km of the trail with N on Monday and will ride it in the fall when the worst of the mosquitoes and deer fly have gone. The Trillium flowers are changing from white to pink, some parts of the forest were almost carpeted with them. We saw a magnificent Oak tree that would have looked at home in Robin Hood’s Sherwood Forest.

I could have chosen to feel frustrated about losing time and not catching up on my neglected business activities, a few hundred un-read emails, an inactive social media presence. Instead I chose to appreciate the gifts the week provided for me.

How do you handle a succession of disrupted weeks? With acceptance, gratitude and grace or resentment and regret?

Wishing you success.

Peter Wright


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