Life has this way of throwing surprises at you. Some of them are actually pleasant surprises. I have mixed feelings as I sit here and ponder my future. I have lived in the western part of Manitoba for the better part of my life. I have been part of a community for years. I have seen people come and go. I have seen our kids grow up and have seen how their lives have develop and continue to develop. Now it appears it is my turn to make significant changes in my life. We are moving.
It is exactly a month ago that my wife accepted a job near Winnipeg. That was a pleasant surprise. Then we were able to sell our house and buy a house in short order. That was a really pleasant surprise. But then the work started. Sorting, packing, purging, and all that goes with vacating a house. This weekend we are moving. I am procrastinating packing up my office. It’s a lot of work. It becomes overwhelming.
After all that whirlwind of activity I find myself thinking about all these changes. I am reflecting on my life. A life spent near Wawanesa. I have mixed feelings. Looking forward to new challenges. A friend and colleague told me that moving to a new community can be freeing. An interesting concept that I need to analyze further. The thought being that having grown up in a community and lived in that community for most of my life, the community has made certain assumptions of who I am by who I was. That may be positive or it may be negative. Like I say, interesting. Will leave that one for another day.
“Relationships provide us with identity, purpose and direction. In essence, relationships and therefore community is a life giving, life defining, life nurturing process.” I have always appreciated this quote. Used it often when I discuss relationships. However, I have often wondered about the second part of that quote. “. . . . community is a life giving, life defining, life nurturing process’. When I reflect on my life I see so much truth in that. This community has given me life. It has defined who I am. And very obviously it has nurtured me.
Who would have thought that I would remain in the community I grew up in to farm, raise a family and start a new business? Although I had to go to a different community to find a life partner, who would have thought that she would pack up and join me in my community? Who would have thought that my grade 7 teacher would become a friend and neighbor? Who would have thought that my kids would have the same grade 2 teacher I had? Who would have thought that neighbors would become such an important part of life? How often did I take advantage of neighbors when I needed help? Where else, after a heavy snow fall, would different neighbors show up to clear my yard? On the same day, without being asked. Where else could you feel safe leaving keys in your vehicle and leaving doors unlocked? Only in small town Manitoba. Only near Wawanesa.
Perhaps the title should have been “And So It Begins”. As I bid adieu to my community I hope that I, in some small way, have contributed to a community that has left its mark on me. And if any of you should find yourself in eastern Manitoba drop by. The coffee will be on. And I would love to hear what’s going on in western Manitoba. And remember, I will still be on the west side of the Red River. Make it a good one.