Lost and Found

What once was lost…. now is found!

It’s freezing rain outside, Patsy Cline is playing on my stereo, laundry is tumbling in the dryer, and I am snacking on roasted almonds and contemplating loss. Seems like a depressing topic for me, doesn’t it? Well, you’re incorrect. It’s actually a very positive thing to discuss. I’ll prove it.

On three occasions this past week I was called “a light”. All three times I asked the person, “What do you mean?” and they’ve explained: “Mike, you are a positive, bright and happy presence in the world and you never exude anything but cheerfulness and smiles and it’s very refreshing”. I am paraphrasing of course, but they all said about the same thing to me. I blushed, nodded, smiled and felt amazing after hearing this. I’m certainly not this cheery because I want the attention: I’m cheery because I was made this way and can’t imagine being anything else. I bring all this up because I wrote about an amazing woman (see my Who’s Who article in this issue) who experienced what I consider the greatest loss one can experience: that of a parent losing their child. I have to say it’s been sitting on my thoughts (both heavy and light) to write about how I’m feeling and thinking about it and them.

Have you ever lost your car keys, your driver’s licence or your passport? How about a book, a grocery list, or your sunglasses? Can you remember how relieved you were when you eventually found those things or were able to replace them with a new one? I lost my bank card once. I was staying in Halifax and had used it in Wolfville that afternoon. I was now away from home for three days and it was a Friday, so… Unlike those who experience the feelings of panic, anger, and frustration first, I experience reason and logic (call me a miracle if you want, but it’s true). I simply looked in all my bags, then went to the front desk of my hotel and asked where the nearest RBC was. Then I hoofed it there at top speed. Within 25 minutes of discovering my loss, I was equipped with a temp card. Problem solved.

Now I ask you: have you ever lost a pet or a friend or a child? Not so easy to replace,eh? Not replaceable at all, actually. What did you do when this happened?

I have never lost a pet, I still have all my closest friends with me, and I have no children, so I can’t comment directly on the loss of these things. But I can imagine how crippling the loss would be. I have lost grandparents and a few other relatives and grieved with friends during their losses, but nothing as severe as the loss of a child. I could ask myself ,”Can a parent ever survive that loss?”, or I could just read my Who’s Who and know that it’s possible to not only survive that loss, but also help others going through the same situation. Now THAT’S a person who should be called “a light”! To me, that family is filled with heroes, showing incredible strength. Even though I am sure it took a long time to become this strong again and days are still hard, I am so inspired and humbled by their story. My light is quite dim in comparison to how they light up the world. Ask yourself; do you know any lights in this world? Have you told them lately how much you appreciate the light they give?

I went to a workshop about eight years ago, directed at improving customer-service skills, and our instructor asked each of us in the room (about 30 people), “What was the worst day of your life?” I won’t reiterate all the answers, but it ranged from “I got this major paper cut” to “Well, I had this flat tire and my phone was dead” to “There was a dark hair in my sub and that was the worst ever!” But my answer was “I don’t know because I haven’t had it yet,” And seriously, I tried to think of my worst day and I just couldn’t place it, because I know whatever I thought could have been topped by something even worse. So I honestly have never had my worst day. I pride myself on saying I’ve never had a bad day either. I mean, I have off days, and things happen that are frustrating, but I have plenty of light to guide me—my own, as well as light from others. And after interviewing Tanya Barnett, I know there’s brilliant, strong, bright light in this world.

Just when you think it’s your worst day, stop and think. There’s another day coming and what will it bring? What will it hold in store for you, and how will you handle it? Find a light, accept the light, or even better….BE A LIGHT!

Mike Butler