The road back

I was out to lunch with some friends recently and the conversation around the table moved to spiritualism and organized religion, always a loaded topic but not overly contentious with this group. We are all diverse in our beliefs but harbor a healthy respect for each others choices. One friend in particular has always been adamant about her position as an atheist but her conversation this time surprised us all. She alluded to feeling a need to return to her church and was struggling with what she perceived as a betrayal of her own belief. For years she was confident and comfortable as a non-believer. Now, for reasons she herself can’t explain, she feels compelled to return to her faith. Her struggle was with ‘what changed, and why’?

In another scenario a young man enjoyed a reckless and adventurous youth. He studied hard but only because he knew he wanted a comfortable life. He partied harder, and eventually he either burnt himself out or had an epiphany, because in an overnight transition he found his purpose and made radical changes to his life, shocking friends and family. The medical career he’d studied for to maintain his luxurious lifestyle became his ‘gift’ to mankind. For reasons he could never explain he left his high rolling bachelor life and committed himself to God. He now provides medical relief in third world countries, trading in his sport cars for much need medical equipment and fresh water, and he lives, happily, in the most base conditions.

The angry career criminal who mercilessly commits crime after crime, because each time he did so hardened him and it became easier, now wants to rehabilitate and counsel troubled  souls to steer them away from the path upon which he once trod. When everyone else tried to put him on the right path, they failed, then one day he just forged a new path himself and never looked back.

There were no epic life events in any of these three situations that prompted the ‘ahha’ moment that suddenly struck with a life-changing realization that would alter the rest of their life story. In fact, in all three scenarios the individual knows not why they must move in another direction. They just know that they must.

I believe we are all meant to walk a specific path, the path that ultimately satisfies our purpose for being here.  For many that path is clearly marked and they do not stray. For others, that path meanders in a risky direction, taking unlikely turns and moving them further from their purpose. In youth we stray from our faith because it is the very impetuousness of youth that makes us question the status quo.  In maturity, long after we’ve explored other avenues, we return to our faith, if only to confirm it was meant for us after all.

For those of us taking  a ‘wrong turn’ in life, finding the road back comes at a high price but ultimately leads to safety, peace, and happiness, and very often those taking those radical turns can’t explain them. They just know it’s right.

Destiny required you to stray for a time, and the lessons learned during this brief hiatus are every bit as important as the need for you to return. The road back presents itself at just the right time and for the right reasons. Don’t try to analyze why, just take it.

The road back

New Immigrants

Watching my local news station the other night, I found myself interested in the story of a Syrian man who’d acquired his Canadian Citizenship. When interviewed he made a comment that piqued my interest and made me think. He is, by all accounts a refugee success story; settling in to a rural Nova Scotia town after fleeing Syria with his family, immersing himself into the community and determined to build a positive future, for himself, his family, and those who helped him.

Among the many humble comments he made in the interview, he also alluded to immigrants being perceived in past as something of a burden, draining an already tight financial economy and taking the jobs of locals, a perception he proved very wrong. His is the perfect example of the ideal immigration story. Over the past three years not only did he work to give back to his community but he also launched a successful chocolatier business that now proudly employs some 30 plus locals; a gift to this rural community where jobs are scarce.

My parents were immigrants, among the many after World War ll, who flooded North America. They arrived in Canada with two children, two suitcases and $57 US dollars. They didn’t speak the language and had no formal job training; the war took care of that, but they were hard working, honest, and determined to make a new life, a good life. Fast forward to today and I can proudly say that these two immigrants, like so many others who remain anonymous, built a successful life in their chosen country. They learned the language and after obtaining entry level jobs, both eventually reached senior positions in their fields, eventually retiring with a comfortable life.

This Syrian refugee, like my parents, like so many others, not only didn’t ‘take’ the jobs of locals, rather they created them for others. Immigration has enriched the very fiber of society, bringing us diversity, teaching us tolerance and acceptance, and uniting all mankind. And don’t even get me started on the food, the variety of restaurants, grocery stores, and traditional foods is a bounty enjoyed by all!

Immigrating isn’t easy, nor is it for the faint of heart. It takes tremendous courage to leave all that is familiar and start anew in a place where the language, customs, and traditions are foreign, and it’s especially difficult if the reception is less than welcoming.  (walk a mile in their shoes?)

Let’s embrace the diversity immigration brings because it makes us stronger, richer, and better as a people. And who knows, maybe one day we’ll even abolish racism, supremacy and hate.

Wouldn’t that be nice?



Dating has changed, dramatically, and I’m glad I’m not single and looking. Gone are the days when you’d meet someone by chance at a grocery store, or be introduced to that special someone by a mutual friend. Todays busy single has to resort to on line chat rooms and dating services to screen potential applicants because it seems our busy lives make it impossible to find the time to get dates by conventional methods. What’s prompted the upsurge in this non-traditional practice of meeting that special someone(s)?

My first guess would be time. My second would be a combination of laziness and insecurity. If we do not meet our perfect match via our existing social network; work, school, and families, we have few hours left in our waking day to continue our hunt, so it’s quick and easy to just surf the net seeking our prey. You don’t have to dress up for a date only to be disappointed. And you have the advantage of ‘screening’ your victims, sparing you the awkwardness of having to let them down gently should you arrive for your date and discover they’re 4 feet tall, balding, and are missing most of their teeth. Online viewing gives you the chance to scrutinize your potential loves, dumping the rejects with a simple ‘delete’ – no apologies, no accountability, just movin’ on…to someone ‘better’.

So how do we learn from this?

We don’t. We just develop a deeper insensitivity to our fellow man. Internet dating provides us with the safety of cover. We can criticize and dissect potential partners without hurting any feelings because our screening process assures us anonymity, i.e. we don’t see the faces of our rejects. We don’t see how our rejection has affected them. And if we don’t see, how can we be to blame for any hurt feelings?

On the other side of this double edged sword, we also don’t ‘see’ the potential good of these people because we’re too busy scanning the ‘visual’ qualifications of our numerous candidates for ‘love’. Let’s face it, we are human, and given a choice, we all want ‘the looker’, ‘the hunk’, and on first meeting we’d likely overlook some shortcomings as long as they looked good.

The average guy who’s slightly balding might have a heart of gold, a good job, and the love of every Grandmother on the planet, but if you plant his Bio next to Biff Studmaster, (the hunk) his ‘hits’ will be minimal by comparison. Now I’m not saying Biff isn’t a great guy, but he doesn’t deserve any advantages on the dating sites because he likely gets them in every other aspect of his life. (Give baldy a chance already)

And what are you really learning about ‘people’ through online sites? There’s no tone, no expression,,,,no ‘personality’. It’s actually a very superficial way to meet another human being. The only advantage I see is the ability to connect with someone living in a place in which you are unlikely to be, but then maybe that’s destiny? (No wait, that’s a Penpal) If you’re meant to meet, I believe you will. Somehow fate will bring you together, where ever you are, and if it doesn’t, it wasn’t meant to be.

So how does this strategy help those looking for love? It doesn’t, but then I’m not sure anything will, and maybe not everyone is meant to be part of a couple. We do each walk a different path; not all of us are meant to marry, have 2.5 children, a cocker spaniel, and the white house with a picket fence.

I’ve seen too many people so determined to meet someone they’ll stop at nothing, i.e. they can’t ‘not be’ in a relationship. If they don’t have a ‘current’ on their arm, they don’t exist, and the sad truth about that is that they will never find love that way, because ‘love’ isn’t just the guy on your arm. It’s the person your heart connects with, the one who loves you, flaws and all, the one who’ll stand by you through anything. And if he happens to be 4 feet tall, balding, and missing some teeth, consider yourself lucky, cause by todays dating standards, you’ll have no competition to win his heart.

Here’s to traditional dating…..and long live ‘average’!

ONline dating

The perfect one

We all know that perfect guy, one, at least,,,,,maybe two, and if so,,,,,heaven help you. They’re beautiful. They have well matched features, thick wavy hair, perfect skin, a great body; they’re the whole package. They always seem to score the best jobs and they’re popularity is legendary. They have all the confidence in the world and they strut their stuff because they have it to strut.

In school they scored top of the class,,,,in everything, and their friendship was sought after because just being accepted into their circle of ‘coolness’ meant you too belonged on a pedestal. They could run the fastest, speak the most eloquently, and all who are graced to be in their audience are held spellbound with fascination. It seems they can do no wrong.(Mother Jesus, they probably even pick their nose with class)

In the workplace they were respected, just for showing up every day, and they don’t have ‘jobs’, they have ‘careers’. They received accolades for suggestions that were not necessarily original or even good, but their delivery was enough to sell the idea. When you present an idea it’s challenged as being radical and inefficient. When the perfect one offers his suggestion (which is often a variation of yours) he’s given credit for thinking outside the box. You can’t win so don’t try.

When they found their life partner (who was also perfect, or at the very least proffered the required idol worship) they set about building their lives together, and the world wept as the most eligible man was now ‘off the market’. What’s it like to be the wife of a perfect man? Is she riddled with insecurity for fear she might lose him because, dare I say it, she’s not quite Super woman enough, or is she just so grateful that she was the ‘chosen’ one?

They bought the perfect home and their furniture was all custom made; the wood hand picked by him. In fact, he probably planted the seed, that sprouted the tree, that he later felled (cause he’s also an expert lumberjack) that built the house, blah, blah, blah, (ok, did they ever buy anything on sale at Franks Furniture Warehouse? No, of course not) but you see where I’m going.

How is it that some people are just born to be perfect and how does it come so easily to them? Are they even aware of their ‘silver-spoon’ status?   Surely they must suffer moments of uncertainty, insecurity even, though they’d never show it. And there has to be a lot of pressure in being part of the entourage that travel in the circle of this ‘Super Man’ cause you have to constantly keep up. (personally, I’ve found it easier to just admire their perfection from afar)

I am not the perfect woman and I am not married to the perfect man, at least not in the superficial sense of ‘perfection’. We are average people of average size and appearance, and we are reasonably intelligent. We both sport a good sense of humour, we live a respectable life, and while we don’t have an entourage of constant admirers, we do have a healthy circle of family and friends,,,,who are also not perfect, but they’re good people, and they’re fun.

At the end of the day I think we are all driven to perfection in one form or another, but for some the road is smoother, and I don’t know why. It doesn’t mean they’re necessarily better at navigating through life, in fact, I’d venture to say they’re just somewhat oblivious to the bumps in the road that we careen over, and missing out on some of life’s struggles isn’t always better. Isn’t it those very struggles that build character?

Maybe we all, early in life, have the choice of following the perfect (easy) path, or taking the bumpy road. Me, I chose to build my character, sacrificing perfection, cause I didn’t want to impose that kind of pressure on my entourage. You’re welcome!

Perfect One