Here’s how to stop the endless loop of sadness playing over and over again in your head. Sadness you’re feeling for the almost 40,000 people evacuated from their homes due to wildfires in our province over the last two weeks.
Not knowing if they would ever see their homes again was gut wrenching for them. And some even had to do the unthinkable and leave behind barn cats they couldn’t find, horses they couldn’t get loaded on a trailer, dogs running off in fear…
It was beyond frightening and downright terrifying for people to leave the place they felt the most safe, to drive through burning forests and end up in strange towns, registering at Emergency Social Service centers.
And the media made darn certain the rest of us saw how devastating this was to everyone. Which was good, because those of us not affected, needed to know what was going on, so we could get busy and help in any way possible.
Unfortunately, the residual effect, was sadness. People flooded social media with sad face emojis as though to say, “Oh man, I feel so bad for what you’re going through.”
Yep. All good.
But it’s time to stop.
It’s time to stop focusing on the negative–which has absolutely no benefits.
It is time to be grateful instead.
Grateful for the thousands of everyday people helping out in a gazillion ways, big and small.
Grateful for the Canadian Red Cross volunteers helping to register evacuees.
Grateful for the Animal Care volunteers taking in dogs, cats, rabbits, pigs, horses, goats, llamas, alpacas, chickens, and cattle… making sure they were well cared for, so their owners could concentrate on themselves, and the rest of their family.
Grateful for the little girls holding lemonade sales to gather money for the “kids who had to run away from the fire.”
Grateful for meals and entertainment being provided to evacuees and volunteers by numerous groups, clubs, and generous individuals.
Grateful for the town of Fort MacMurray coming together and sending semi-trucks filled with donations from the residents to help out their fellow Canadians.—YES! This is the town wiped out by wildfires just last year.
Grateful for the firefighters and pilots risking their own lives, doing everything in their power to save every square foot of property they possibly could. Firefighters working endlessly, and then sleeping on the ground when they couldn’t go another step.
Grateful for police who came in from their nice safe towns outside the fire zone to protect the homes of those who had to evacuate, to help guide people to safety, and who tasked themselves with feeding and watering animals left behind.
Grateful for people who stayed behind to make sure the firefighters and police were fed.
Grateful for private citizens setting up on the side of the road with fuel tanks in the back of a pick up, and a couple flats of water bottles, and bags of snacks. They held up hand-printed signs reading, FREE gas, diesel, water and food.
Grateful for haulers who took it upon themselves to drive from place to place, INSIDE the dangerous zones, evacuating animals for total strangers—like the one who days later was asking if anyone knew the two ladies who simply showed up and got her alpacas to safety…because she wanted to thank them properly.
Grateful for citizens who wandered among the evacuation centers, asking if anyone needed a hand, and drove a couple of people to a pharmacy to get a prescription filled.
Grateful for veterinarians who made themselves available for sick or injured animals.
Grateful for people sending trucks filled with hay for horses now living in pens on various fairgrounds, and dozens of other places.
Grateful for volunteers walking dogs, and horses, and changing litter boxes.
Really, I could go on and on and on, because there were thousands of people, stepping up in whatever way they were able, just to help a little bit. Because they wanted to ease the suffering for someone having a really, really, really, bad day… or two… or ten.
The message I’m trying to get across is this.
Please, STOP being sad for everyone, because sadness, is negative and really hard on you, and everyone around you. I realize it’s hard to shake, but try, by not focussing on the negatives.
Gratitude is a positive, and creates a healing environment.
Be GRATEFUL for this country we live in, for the wonderful people we call our brothers and sisters, and for being able to help.
I’m not saying you can’t grieve. Grieving is natural and necessary, especially for those who have been through the hell of losing their home or a pet.
But for those not grieving, we NEED to stop thinking of this huge event as a sadness, and start thinking of how wonderful it is that everyone could pull together, take strangers into their home, offer a meal, or a blanket, or a maybe just a spare loonie (for my American friends, that’s a dollar 🙂 ).
We need to be humbled by the outpouring of love and supplies from Fort MacMurray residents who themselves lost everything. For the dozens of hand written messages they sent to the people chased out of their homes by these wildfires.
We need to be grateful, and strong, for those who have lost so much.
So PLEASE try. You, and everyone else will feel better for your effort.
And continue to help out in any little way you can, because I know, those on the receiving end? Oh boy, are they ever grateful.