C.C., my sister and I are back to Vancouver today. Lee, Anne's husband is staying on the island to do some chores around the house and will return tomorrow with their two cats -- ferries are less busy on weekdays, he said. Which makes it easier on the kitties.
It has been a delightful sojourn here on Gabriola. An island of 5,000 people, it's laid back at the best of times. Over the New Year's weekend -- it almost goes into reverse. :)
And it is beautiful.
Yesterday, while Anne, Lee and C.C. explored Island places (C.C. has never been on Gabriola) I took the 1 o'clock ferry over to Nanaimo to visit a friend who has been in attendance at a rehab centre since early November.
I am in awe of this friend. For the over 25 years I've known her, alcohol has been a dragon she's never willingly faced. And then, a series of circumstances caused her to pay attention -- and boy, has she paid attention.
"I have to take care of me," she told me. "I have to quit avoiding life and get into living it on my terms without fearing what others think."
We sat in the coffee shop at the centre yesterday and visited and laughed and teased each other. She is doing great. and I was grateful to have the opportunity to spend some time with her. She's chosen to remain at the centre after completing their initial 9 week program, even though it meant missing Christmas with her family.
"It was a really hard decision," she said. "But, I want to be well. I want to live without my addiction controlling my life. And to do that, I have to be will ing to make hard decisions."
Addict and muggles, as those on the 'outside' are called at the rehab centre by my friend's favorite counsellor, are always faced with 'hard decisions'. And most of us will do anything to avoid making them at times. For an addict, using is the route out. For muggles -- we use other coping mechanisms to avoid, the hard.
Leaving the DI, the homeless shelter where I worked until the end of the year, was a hard decision -- one I avoided making for almost a year. Not making the decision, putting it off, rationalizing why I stayed even when I knew the environment was becoming toxic to my health, was easier than saying, "I'm done. I'm leaving. I have to go."
And so I stayed, amidst growing dissatisfaction on my part for what was going on.
I rationalized my staying with reminders of how much I loved what I did, how much I loved the people, how important work was to me. And in my rationalization I avoided taking responsibility for my choice to stay, for holding onto something that was not healthy for me anymore.
It's hard to make hard decisions, yet, when we do... life opens up and opportunities appear and creativity abounds.
From being afraid of making the decision, to living in the wonder of life after the homeless shelter, I am in awe of how choosing to stay was what was holding me back from experiencing the joy of life 'on the other side'.
Like my friend yesterday, the decision to go to rehab was harder to make than being there. Now that she's there, her world is opening up with wonder. Her eyes are growing bigger with all the opportunities that are appearing on her path. Even when hard decisions appear on the path, she knows she can work through them when she stays true to her path and doesn't avoid 'doing the hard.'
I had an amazing day yesterday with a courageous and beautiful woman.
I am grateful for life out in the wide wide world beyond the shelter.
And maybe, I'll just call this post in honor of my friend Glynn at Faith. Fiction. Friends., (http://faithfictionfriends.blogspot.com) Pleasantly Disturbed Monday! :)
PS -- and an opportunty to make a difference presented itself quite naturally on the road to the ferry yesterday.
I wrote about it over at -- http://ayearofmakingadifference.wordpress.com