The snowstorm I feared might occur was there to greet me when I reached the southern outskirts of Val-d’Or as I made my way to Kitigan Zibi. I braced myself for a long, dangerous, late-night drive home.
Snowflakes of varying sizes, swept by the wind towards the windshield of my old Honda Civic, had a mesmerizing effect on me and released my creative spirit to do as it willed. I imagined I was commandeering a starship zooming through uncharted territories of stars and planets, boldly going where no Algonquin had gone before. Funny what headlamps on the high beams of a moving car do to snowflakes in the dead of night, “where did that yellow line go?” When you’re in it, keep both hands on the steering wheel, my friends.
Thankfully, the traffic was sparse, and I found after a while that I was able to find peace, at least to a small degree. I reflected on the presentation I had made to the students at Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue. They seemed to be happy with my sharing on the topic of “leadership”. It was a video teleconference with people even in France participating. I have no doubt all of them benefitted from the richness of my life’s experiences. Mine has been a tumultuous life and I often offer prayers of thanksgiving that I survived to tell the tale.
Life is strange and snowstorms have a way of gauging, very precisely, just how well you have combatted the negatives you encountered over the years. The weak will crumble in the face of a fierce one, the foolish will say “onward in high gear” and end up in a car wrapped around a tree. The strong and sensible though, who have survived more than their share of storms, will proceed with caution, keep their wits about them, and pray hard. They get to point B from point A in one piece and can proudly add one more notch to the stick which measures the confidence they have in themselves.
To the students I met in Val-d’Or I say, give purpose to your life. Learn from your mistakes. Do not attempt to make sense of the shortcomings of the systems we are forced to live under. To do so would be as ridiculous and as destructive as it would have been for me to try and count the snowflakes which made contact with the windshield of my car the other night. I would surely have strayed off the road.
Always be thankful. There are many blessings to count.