Wednesday, 17 January 2018 14:50

Try to take advantage: it’s a New Year, a new beginning

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It was dark and cold as I pulled off the highway north of Maple Creek last week. I slowed to a stop on the shoulder, but on the opposite side of the road.


This means I was facing traffic as cars sped past to my right in the oncoming lane. The passing cars’ headlights temporarily blinded me as I shifted into reverse and backed up to a broken down van with Manitoba plates.
The van belonged to my friend Monica’s dad and it was stuffed to the roof with furniture for his daughter.
A few months ago, she sold most of her furniture and moved in with her boyfriend in Alberta.
Between Christmas and New Year’s, the relationship went sour. Monica had to move back to Maple Creek. All she had were her clothes, a guitar and a few pieces of art. 
Her dad had spent the day driving from the family home in Manitoba and was literally within sight of Maple Creek when his van’s engine blew. Honestly, if he’d been able to drive up one more hill he probably could have coasted into town, engine or not.
I parked behind the van and slipped the mattress from the van’s luggage rack into the box of my truck. As I strapped the mattress to my vehicle, it was easy for me to relate to my friend’s situation.
In 2010, a flash flood struck Maple Creek and I too lost most of my possessions. To be very truthful, that seemingly negative experience turned out to be one of the best things that has ever happened to me. Allow me to explain.
Like Monica, I had to start from zero again, but during the flood I discovered who my real friends are and aren’t. Now, I know exactly who I can count on during a crisis and that knowledge is worth gold to me. I have a deep appreciation for the friends who arrived when I needed them most.
My friends made sacrifices, offered a lending hand and supported me.
On the other hand, one of the people I thought was my friend wanted to profit from my calamity. He actually asked me to pay him to help. I no longer call him my friend and I think it’s equally valuable to know who not to ask for help.
Most importantly, the flood was a blessing because it made me homeless. Without a home, I was free to go anywhere in the world. This freedom, but also a few other events in my life, prompted me to take a trip I had dreamed of ever since I was a teenager and I canoed from Saskatchewan to New Orleans. Needless to say, that canoe trip was an experience of a lifetime.
Maybe something bad has happened to you recently. Is there a way to look at the hardship you’re currently facing as the first step in a new and better beginning?

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Dominique Liboiron

Dominique Liboiron is a speaker, author, teacher, journalist and photographer. To raise awareness about heart disease and to honour the life of one of its victims, Liboiron canoed from Saskatchewan to New Orleans. He is the first person to undertake that journey. He enjoys outdoor sports such as camping, hunting, fly fishing and canoeing.

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