Wednesday, 26 June 2013

There Is No Magic Spell

Sometimes your best just isn’t good enough. I have been thinking about this lately and no matter how good your intentions are or how focused you stay, it just isn’t good enough.

There were times in school that I really did my best, studied for days and still my marks just weren’t good enough for a pass. Somewhere, I misunderstood what the teacher or the book was trying to get across and came up with the “Ken” version of math that didn’t belong in this dimension at all. I don’t mind the idea of knowing another dimensions math; it’s just that everyone in this dimension thinks I am an idiot. In that other dimension they are putting up statues of me. Maybe…

There is a very disturbing scene in the movie “Saving Private Ryan” where one of the good guys (Allies) and one of the bad guys (Germans) come upon one another and have a knife fight to the death. The scene is very quiet and it is clear that the bad guy is going to win, but the knife takes so long to find it’s mark that I had hoped there would be a happy (for me) ending. There wasn’t. That is the way life is sometime, no matter how hard you wish or how hard you try, that knife will eventually pierce your heart.

In Southern Alberta we are going through the aftermath of one of those once in a hundred year floods. Thankfully there were few fatalities and injuries, mainly property damage. The early estimates for the damage is anywhere from 4 to 6 billion dollars. Most of the damage isn’t insured because it is an act of God. Some people have had their power out for days, the roads are impassable, businesses have been shut down since the flood and of course many thousands of people have lost varying degrees of their lives.

Yes, they are just things, but they are the things that define a family. Things like pictures, that Dr. Seuss book you read to the kids and looked forward to reading to the grandkids. The clown growth chart on the back of the basement door that marked in inches your children becoming the people they are. The quilt Aunt Leslie made for you the Christmas of 2003 and that stupid stuffed animal that you and your wife treated like a child until real kids came along. Your dad’s memorabilia from when he was a prisoner of war and the pictures of him as a young man.

There are thousands of things that are meaningless to everyone else, but they become part of the fabric of your life. That fabric has been torn apart for thousands of Albertans in the last week. All across the city, a soggy mess of trash that used to be memories, sit on lawns and boulevards waiting for the city garbage men to haul it to the dump.

There is a town called High River where the people have yet to be allowed to return to their homes. They have been patient with the authorities, but are beginning to lose that patience. They just can’t understand why they can not go and try to salvage some of the life they had before this “Act of God”. The authorities have been working tirelessly trying to get the roads repaired, electrical, gas and water back on line and making sure that the townspeople have enough of the necessities of live to carry on and that they are safe. They are trying their best.

Through no fault of their own, the people can’t get back into their homes and will never get their old lives back no matter how hard they try. The people in authority are in a no win situation, but they have to do what is best for everyone concerned. Those of us who weren’t affected try to help in any way that we can, but it is not enough. We are all trying our best, but unfortunately, our best in this case just isn’t good enough.

There is no magic spell that will wish all of this away. Well, there is, it is called time and eventually with enough time, people will start their lives over again, build new houses and make new memories. Someday they will be able to tell the stories of how they survived the flood of 2013. That day is a long way into the future.

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