Thursday, January 29, 2009

Finding Happiness In The Unexpected

No matter how much thought and preparation we put into planning our days, all our plans could change as soon as we begin our action. Sometimes these unexpected events are minor and cause no major disruption to our plans. Sometimes the unexpected event could cause an artist, like me, to take an extra forty minutes to arrive home with the groceries…

The winter snows had recently vanished during this 2001 springtime and Joanne and I were living in Cranbrook, British Columbia. We were there so that I could work on my art project- Canada: Glorious To Be ( This day was my ‘run-around-town-getting-things-done’ day. As was my lifestyle, I left on foot with a knap-sac on my back. It was a bit of a long walk so I prepared many stops. And I always plan my walks on days when the weather is nice, so I can enjoy myself.

I had looped around the north end of town before swinging to the west and the shops of the downtown area. I really grew to enjoy going into all the different shops to buy just one or two things before wandering down the street to the next shop. In one shop I would buy a couple bars of soap and some organic peanut butter. In another shop I’d buy some German rye bread and a chocolate bar. I still had to pop into the local chain supermarket for a few items, but most of my money went into the hands of local merchants who support local producers and that is really important to me.

After two hours or so, I’ll need a little rest, so I would usually plant myself on a street bench and enjoy the sun while other people walked by. Then it was time to visit the local Goodwill store. I had a part time gig at a bar – spinning tunes and making silly jokes now and again – and I found lots of cheap music to add to my collection at ‘used’ stores.

I was only a ten minute walk away from home and one of my shortcuts brought me out of a forested area into a clearing that had a long white building on it, that had been abandoned many years previously. Rarely would I cross the path of another person, along this small stretch of pathway, but today there were lots of people gathered around the building. Many of them looked very busy.

I walked closer and asked what was going on. I was told that today was a special day, designed to promote awareness about spousal abuse and that the owner of the white building had given permission to this group of activists to paint their message to the world on walls. I looked up and was able to read messages like, “Treat each other with love”, “NO MORE VIOLENCE!”, “Please be kind” and many others. There were drawings of flowers and rainbows and people with smiling faces, holding hands. I thought it was a great idea and I asked if I could write a message, too!

Most of the lower wall space was already completed, so I asked for a ladder. I shared a poem that I actually just finished a few days before. It wasn’t a long poem – more of statement, really. And I put my peace symbol in the place of the heart’s heart!!!

Always be open to the unexpected opportunities to work with others to build a safer world. The smile that it will bring you could just save someone’s life!


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