Gratitude; From Expression to Experience in an Ice Storm

ice storm brampton-ice-storm-2013

An Ice Storm 4 days before Christmas changed the course of how I want 2014 to unfold. 

The ice storm of 2013 created mayhem in our lives, with broken tree limbs littering roads, while taking power lines down as they fell to the ground. The ice building up to be so heavy that any remaining power lines still intact snapped underneath the weight of the ice, leaving thousands without heat or electricity in tempers well below freezing.  A scramble to make do and stay warm as the tempers outside kept dropping. Opening our front door on the first morning to see the magnitude of destruction nature can leave in it’s wake is humbling beyond measure. Hydro crews and police already on the scene trying to repair power and cordoned off unsafe roads. With five ways to enter our street, only one was functional and open. The other four remained closed with 2 under police guard preventing entrance to keep the caviler safe.

So the clean up began with hydro crews working around the clock, to restore power and our focus turned from Christmas shopping to keeping warm, and safe. Friends bunking down with us in our living room to take advantage of the warmth from the fireplaces. Camaraderie, friendship and neighborly assistance erupts as people go out of their way to make sure others are warm and feed.

All the while though there is an unease within me, but I cannot quite pin it’s source. An unease whose origin was more then the obvious vulnerable position we found ourselves in. Some times these feelings just take time to work themselves up into our consciousness so I let it simmer in the back of my mind as I went about organizing our lives.

Then on Christmas Eve, an idea struck me that seemed obvious and yet so simple. I wanted, no, I needed to do something for the hydro crews who were working so steely to ready our lives. I needed to express my gratitude for their efforts to restore safety to my families lives. It seemed so simple, yet I couldn’t thank them all, so I bought eight $5.00 Tim Horton gift cards and distributed them to the first eight hydro workers I came across. A simple gesture of thank you, a simple gesture of gratitude for working to restore normalcy to our lives. A simple gesture of gratitude that was way beyond just doing a good job.

But after I distributed my small gesture of gratitude, I found myself crying in my van, as I now could name that unease that had settled within me. My tears became sobs of discomfort for all those past and present whose lives have suffered a much worse fate then my few days of discomfort. Whose lives through floods, typhoons, tornadoes, and war will never be able to return to the familiar safety of their homes. This is what was the under current of my gift. I was thanking all those souls in our world who go out of their way each and every day to make the lives of someone else easier, and more comfortable. I realized my gesture was really a way for me to connect with humanity and express gratitude that an ice storm ended up being only a small inconvenience in my life and normal routines would be restored when millions past and present will not have the same luxury. This was the ache I was trying to sooth by purchasing eight gift cards, and distributing them at random.  I sobbed as I could feel the pain of so many others, when I knew my life would be fine. It seemed so unfair, and yet this is how the game gets played out over and over again.

So, now one week later, as I sit here reflecting on the past 10 days I know I want my life to be lived differently starting today.  There is just no time left to allow the fulfilling to remain in my life. I have lived for years from a deep sense of gratitude, and I thought I understood the gift of appreciation, but it is so much deeper. Our gratitude needs to move from a feeling to an experience.  I now know, that when we experience the expression of gratitude we are providing a huge “THANK YOU” to the universe for the gifts we share in our lives. Connecting with the energy of the collective of humanity while experiencing deep appreciation for all we have and hold in our lives aligns with the energy of hope in the universe bringing this to all.

What we do for one we do for all.






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