Similarly, with the rollout of the Covid 19 vaccines, so many hopeful Canadians are whispering, ‘Getting back to normal is just around the corner’.
Just around the corner.
We often use this phrase. We use it to talk about time, about how we won’t have to wait long for something. We use it to describe the unknown, about how we can’t see around a corner to know what might be there. I’ve been thinking about corners this week, how we look forward to rounding them, and how sometimes we can come upon them suddenly, finding ourselves unprepared for what is around them. Every day of this week held corners for me to ponder.
Monday, I had a visit with our friend Steve. Steve told us about an incident he had last week. He was driving home from an appointment along a stretch of recently opened, brand new, road, part of the newest portion of the ring road around Calgary, when he rounded a curve and came face to face with a ridge of snow right in the middle of his lane, accidentally left there by a grater. The conditions on the rest of the road were dry and bare, so there was no preparing for this unexpected obstacle. I won’t do the details justice, so, suffice it to say Steve’s car did some spinning, an oncoming car joined in, both cars ended up on opposite sides of the highway, no one was injured, and there is at least one car that will never drive again.
Steve couldn’t possibly have known what was around that corner any more than any person could have.
Tuesday morning dawned bright and I met Brenda and Rhonda for one of our Tuesday treks. Brenda and I both arrived with bear spray. Some weeks we have forgotten to carry it but with our deep woods, deep snow hike last week, we both felt we should have had some with us. The bears are likely still sleeping, but cougars don’t rest in the winter. We all laughed when we saw the two cannisters of spray. You never know what you’ll meet around a corner, we thought.
On Wednesday morning we decided to take little Ben out to our friend, Shirley’s farm for one of our regular visits. He was so excited to be going. He only found out about our adventure upon waking in the morning. We waited to tell him until we knew for sure the day would be a good one for the visit. He loves visiting Shirley, loves being outside in the fresh air, he loves looking at all the machinery, and he loves saying hello to the animals there. Last week when we were there, he ‘drove’ a big blue grain truck. I was in the other blue truck beside him. We each had our window rolled down so that we could chat as we ‘drove’. I asked Ben where we were off to. He told me he needed to pick up an elephant at the zoo and bring it to Shirley’s farm. This week, we brought along a little toy elephant so we could complete our mission!
As the morning wore on, I noticed Ben rubbing his eye. This isn’t something he normally does. He wasn’t keen on having me look at it so I waited for the right time. Just after he had inspected one of the combines to make sure it was in top working condition, he came around the corner where I was standing. I could easily see his eye was swollen and red, and his nose was running. My heart sank. Knowing runny noses and red eyes are two signs of Covid, I couldn’t help but worry. A few hours later, after a call to Kaitlyn and a Covid test booked and completed, we settled in to await the results. We were all trying to peak around the corner to see what we might be facing. But corners, and life don’t work like that.
It’s a funny thing about corners. There’s no avoiding them. No matter how we try to anticipate them, or circumvent them, some still sneak up on us catching us off guard. Try as we might to predict what lies around them, more often than not we haven’t a clue. Many times, we round corners with trepidation. We fear there is something not on our ‘bucket list’ waiting for us there. Other times we confidently stroll around a corner, thinking we know exactly what we’ll find, and end up face to face with unexpected news, unwelcome diagnoses, or startling events.
There are still other times in life when we go around the corner and are greeted with unexpected events of the absolute best variety. I’ve opened emails to find a message from a friend I haven’t heard from in a while. I’ve had invitations to work for organizations I never dreamed possible. We’ve had announcements of pregnancies, engagements, recoveries, new jobs and other milestones. We’ve had children move away, toward incredible opportunities, and return home, to share their adventures.
I’m learning to accept corners. More accurately, I’m learning to fully appreciate my complete inability to predict what is around the corner, and also my complete ability to choose how I will navigate it. Some of them feel scarier than others. It’s a work in progress.
A final update; at about 5:00am on Thursday morning, Kaitlyn received a text from AHS saying Benjamin’s COVID-19 test had come back negative. Another corner safely rounded.
My inquiry for you this week is, ‘How will I navigate this corner?’
Elizabeth is a certified professional Leadership Coach, and the owner of Critchley Coaching. She is the founder and president of the Canadian charity, RDL Building Hope Society. She works with corporations, non-profits and the public sector, providing leadership coaching. She creates and facilitates custom workshops for all sizes of groups. She has particular expertise in facilitating Strategic Plans for organizations. Contact Elizabeth to learn how to navigate corners.