I dread hearing those words. But here I am sitting in the center of the universe and I just heard those words. Okay, so it may not be the center of the universe, although it is Toronto. I just want to get home. Finding out why the flight is delayed scares me even more. It’s because of the weather in Winnipeg. Ouch. When I left Thursday afternoon it was plus 9. It was beautiful. I had thoughts of golf on my mind. Two days later it is winter. I just checked the forecast for Winnipeg. Freezing rain, snow, sixty kilometer an hour winds. When I get to Winnipeg I need to walk quite a distance to my vehicle. Guess what my coat is in the vehicle. Smart move. I also know that I will have a low tire. It’s had a slow leak for a while. Oh well. Take care of it when I get there.
But I shouldn’t complain. I met many folks this week who would love to be able to get on a plane, fly from point A to point B. Get off the plane and walk to their vehicles. Would love to be able to change a tire. Would love a normal life and lifestyle. I spent the last day and a half with the Canadian Farmers with Disabilities. Talk about gaining a new perspective on life. It is truly amazing to see how these folks have adapted. They are living with their disability and doing a fine job of it. They have an incredible sense of humour. We laughed when one gentleman, confined to a wheel chair because of a horrific accident, related his experience of trying to get on the toilet. There wasn’t enough room so he had to go “side saddle”. He warned the rest of us that that position can be quite uncomfortable. He told us how he had a real issue when he realized the toilet paper was behind him and he couldn’t reach it. There were other stories. Some sad, some funny. I spoke to the group on stress management. They appreciated the humour I incorporate into my presentations. We laughed, we cried. It was an awesome experience.
It was also rewarding talking one on one with many of them. Listening to their stories. Hearing about their misfortunes. Hearing them talk about coping. They do cope. They have adapted. I never gave much thought about many of the difficulties they face. We had dinner together. One person’s meat was rather tough. Can you imagine trying to cut meat using only one arm? A simple task of splitting a bun and putting butter on it becomes a major undertaking. They are not afraid to ask for help. I chatted with one of them about the irony of a person with a physical impairment feeling free to ask for help and yet people, such as myself, with mental health issues refusing to seek help when we need it. I learned a lot.
Outside of the meeting room was a display board. There were two messages on the board. “Farmers with disabilities are there for the injured after a farming accident” and they “Support other farm families after severe injuries”. Isn’t that awesome? Supporting each other. We talked about how we could better reach out to farmers in need. Regardless of issues. Be they financial, relational, physical or mental. Supporting each other helps.
Well, its time to get ready for my flight. Hopefully it will be a good one. And when I get back to Manitoba I hope I am prepared for what the weather is going to throw at me. I also hope I remember some of the life lessons I have learned over the last few days. Make it a good one.