Definition of Albertan: selfless concern for neighbours
I live in Alberta. I am proud of who we are and the spirit and drive that we share. When Calgary flooded in 2013 I helped to bring many people together to match need with volunteers and supplies.
During the weeks of these events I learned and met some amazing people through our combined efforts. We grew and stretched to meet the need of many of our neighbours and friends. There were so many touching stories and brave people willing to step out of their comfort zone to help their neighbours. Complete strangers were instantly family. It was an amazing time that I will always remember.
So much need. So many willing to help.
Besides my regular job of helping people, I had another more than full time job of coordinating the volunteers and trying to meet the demands coming from our city’s overwhelming disaster.
With some helpful people helping me, we really met the requirements of our community and then some.
I felt so enriched and needed. My fulfillment was peaking and I knew that this was why God put me here! In a way I wished for the event to continue. I knew it really didn’t make sense, but it was such a big part of my being at such a high intensity that I felt like I was losing myself. My destiny was slipping away. Good that things were normalizing, but tragic for me because my purpose was fading.
Today, tragedy has hit us again. This time in Fort McMurray. The heroic stories bowl us over and Facebook is awash in graphic photos and video of my fellow Albertans making our world safe and whole.
Each day, normal people become heroes as they document their struggles and help to fill the need of displaced families. They do it, not realizing that they are heroes at first. All they know is that someone is hurting and they have to step up and be Albertan(human)! Problem solvers. Entrepreneurs. Survivors.
There is nothing that anyone can do to pull you away from your need to help. I know, because I was there. I do know that when the smoke clears and life is going back to the new normal, you will feel this empty feeling and I urge you to talk, write or blog your way through it. Looking back I now realize that I had a hole in my heart. I didn’t feel that I had the right to bring this forward. So many people had it worse than me. You do though! This affects so many people and it doesn’t come in one form only. Volunteers as well as those displaced are equally able to feel loss and grief.
Even just writing this, brings on those feelings of joy, fulfillment, grief, sadness and pride. Like Calgary in 2013, I feel a flood of emotions that are sometimes hard to control.
I am proud of my Alberta neighbours and all that have stepped up to help anyway that they can. Please remember to take care of your mental health as well as those physical injuries that are so obvious.
Great things come from normal people at times of great struggle!