I was listening to the radio this morning and I heard an interview with a man who was sitting in a boat outside his flooded home in Calgary, fishing. He said that his furnace, freezer, everything in his basement and much of his first floor were submerged in water but he was making the best of it.
"People pay thousands of dollars to do what I'm doing. How often do the fish come to you?" he asked the interviewer. "I can sit and be miserable or hang out like this and keep a smile on my face for a couple of days."
I was quite taken aback with this interview. At first, it seemed like an incomprehensible attitude to have in the face of such tragedy. But as I thought about it, I realized that not only do I understand, I can relate.
I don't actually believe that the guy has been sitting in his boat and smiling for the last few days, or that he's immune in the face of loss. He's just found something, in spite of all that's happening, that makes him happy. No matter what is going on in any of our lives, there is hopefully at least one good thing that we can cling to like a life-raft, something that brings respite while we gather our strength to face all that lies ahead.
I would never choose to have been diagnosed with cancer. I would never wish what I've been through on anyone. But there have been so very many good things - the friends and loved ones who've rallied around, things I've learned about myself and a new appreciation for all the good things - that have sustained me through the darkest times.
I hope it goes without saying that I don't think everything happens for a reason. The floods in Alberta have been horrific and terrifying. This is a tragedy of enormous magnitude.
It's just that this morning I listened to that guy, fishing in his boat while his home was underwater and I felt that I understood him.