When a nightmare really isn’t a nightmare

There are so many platitudes about thankfulness that it may be tough to be grateful for the worn phrase ‘the attitude of gratitude’.

There are so many platitudes about thankfulness that it may be tough to be grateful for the worn phrase ‘the attitude of gratitude’.  And most of us have made so many appreciation lists they no longer seem meaningful.

Should we really play the ‘glad game’ when there is no Pollyanna at home? As we look back on Thanksgiving and our friends to the south look forward, reminding ourselves to be grateful may nag at us like a prickle in a sock. And please let me know if you enjoy being told, “Smile, things could be worse!”

I recall a beloved niece whose mother insisted, when the child was cranky, that she paste a forced smile upon her face. Mom insisted that the crabby inside would soon be altered to match the outside.  Of course the irritable child did her best to prove mama wrong —until she read as a young adult, a “Psychology Today” article that confirmed her mother’s intuitive theory.

But there is a magic cure, and it’s smirking not far away. Even if I’m upset at the landlord, my children, my friends, myself, or even a smidge at the universe, there is a story that always turns the tables for me.

It wasn’t the best of times. The Irish Potato Famine had dragged on for years.  And even though potatoes can ably sustain life for a very long time, to make things worse, the First World War was still in progress.

Emily had just turned 12 — one of a large number of children in a family from the emerald isle.  Whether the decision was made by drawing straws, casting lots, or parental talk late into the night, somehow Emily was chosen as the child who would survive – the child who would be sent across the sea.  The precious coins were counted, and a fourth-class ticket on a passenger liner was purchased.  In order to save the family, Emily would cross the ocean to North America as an indentured servant.

No one is quite sure what happened.  Emily either got sick, or somehow was late, but whatever the cause – Emily missed the boat.  There would be no refund for the ticket, and the family’s thin gauze of hope dissolved in tears.  The family returned to their potatoes and cried.  It hardly seemed a time for gratitude.

The next time I don’t like what’s happening (and it will be soon), perhaps I’ll pause just a second before reacting.  In the long view, life rarely looks as bad as in a troubled moment.  That was especially true for Emily’s family.  Because just off the coast of Ireland, the Lusitania sank.

Whatever we grieve, miss, wish for or hurt over — the story’s not over yet.  And just think of all the good times we would have missed with Grandma Emily. Not to mention that my husband would have been someone else!  As Alphonse Karr said, “I am grateful that thorns have roses.”

Or maybe I’d just prefer to be grumpy.  LOL@wltribune.com.

Rita Corbett is a freelance columnist with the Tribune/Advisor.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A dose of COVID-19 vaccine is prepared at a vaccination clinic in Montreal’s Olympic Stadium on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
39 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health region

The total number of cases in the region since the pandemic began is now at 7,334

Members of the Tl’etinqox First Nations are awaiting word of when they will receive their second dose. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
‘We need the second round’: Tl’etinqox Chief Joe Alphonse questions vaccine roll-out

It’s been 42 days since Tl’etinqox First Nation members received their first dose of Moderna

A drive-thru restaurant and beer and wine store is being proposed by Broadway Landco Management Ltd. for the former Chemo RV site at 1704 Broadway Ave. South. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Drive-thru restaurant, beer and wine store proposed for Williams Lake

Owners of property at 1704 Broadway Ave. South have applied for a zoning amendment

Avalanche Canada has issued a special avalanche warning for the Cariboo Mountains effective through the weekend. (Wes Gregg photo)
The city of Williams Lake has received provincial funding for a proposed boardwalk connecting the RC Cotton Trail to the River Valley Recreational Trail. (City of Williams Lake rough visualization of the proposal)
$550,000 provincial funding announced for Williams Lake boardwalk trail

The boardwalk will connect the new RC Cotton Trail to the river valley

Dr. Bonnie Henry leaves the podium after talking about the next steps in B.C.’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
COVID: 589 new cases in B.C., and 7 new deaths

No new outbreaks being reported Feb. 26

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Staff from the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, passersby, RCMP and Nanaimo Fire Rescue carried a sick 300-kilogram steller sea lion up the steep bluff at Invermere Beach in north Nanaimo in an attempt to save the animal’s life Thursday. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Rescue Centre)
300-kilogram sea lion muscled up from B.C. beach in rescue attempt

Animal dies despite efforts of Nanaimo marine mammal rescue team, emergency personnel and bystanders

Gina Adams as she works on her latest piece titled ‘Undying Love’. (Submitted photo)
‘Toothless’ the kitty inspires B.C. wood carver to break out the chainsaw

Inspired by plight of a toothless cat, Gina Adams offers proceeds from her artwork to help animals

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson presents bill to delay B.C.’s budget as late as April 30, and allow further spending before that, B.C. legislature, Dec. 8, 2020. (Hansard TV)
How big is B.C.’s COVID-19 deficit? We’ll find out April 20

More borrowing expected as pandemic enters second year

The first of 11 Dash 8 Q400 aircraft's have arrived in Abbotsford. Conair Group Inc. will soon transform them into firefighting airtankers. (Submitted)
Abbotsford’s Conair begins airtanker transformation

Aerial firefighting company creating Q400AT airtanker in advance of local forest fire season

The Canada Revenue Agency says there were 32 tax fraud convictions across the country between April 2019 and March 2020. (Pixabay)
Vancouver man sentenced to 29 months, fined $645K for tax evasion, forgery

Michael Sholz reportedly forged documents to support ineligible tax credits linked to homeownership

Then-Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson looks on as MLA Shirley Bond answers questions during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria. (Chad Hipolito / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
B.C. Liberal party to choose next leader in February 2022

Candidates have until Nov. 30 to declare whether they are running

After nearly 10 months of investigations, Mounties have made an arrest in the tripping of an elderly woman in Burnaby this past April. (RCMP handout)
VIDEO: Mounties charge suspect for tripping elderly woman near Metrotown in April

32-year-old Hayun Song is accused of causing bodily harm to an 84-year-old using her walker

Most Read