MY ONTARIO. It is 3am and brutally cold at minus 27 degrees C. I just woke up to a fairytale world with a smile on my face. There are no curtains in front of the windows and we’re dirt poor, so we’re sleeping on a mattress on the living room floor as we have to buy furniture, drapes, etc. as Stan earns a living. The mattress is also too big to get up the staircase of our tiny cabin in the forest on 13 acres. I grew up in the tropics and this is the first time in my 38 years that I’ve seen snow. Big fat flakes come falling from heaven like manna. There is no wind and the world is quiet and surreal. It is a sight so beautiful that it almost drives me to tears. There has been a lot of tears. It is 2008 and we had fallen victim to the GFC (Global Financial Crisis). A few months ago, we were still living on the island of Aruba as business owners of an ocean tour company. We had incessant problems with work permits and couldn’t sustain the constant stress of trying to turn our lemon into lemonade while fighting to remain on the island. The last straw was when I found myself on the floor of the shower one night, sobbing into a towel, without any idea how I got there. It was time to get our lives back, so it came as a great relief when Stan received a job offer in Ontario, Canada. Our Canadian work permits came through in record time and we found a buyer for our company in record time. As we sat in the accountant’s office signing the documents, the buyer receives a phone call. His bank in the USA fell by the wayward side. His loan was gone. He had lost everything. Our plane tickets to Canada were purchased. With the buyer losing everything, we lost everything with him. Stan’s pension, our investment property in the Bahamas, our parents’ money, everything. I arrive in Canada with the clothes I’m wearing, my little dog in her baggie and a change of underwear in my purse. It is not the first time we’re starting over with nothing, but it is late in life and it is a tad more scary than ever before. I am astounded when I walk around our rural farming community and notice that people put furniture on the side of the road with “free” signs on them. It is the beginning of many miracles for us. I walk every day and pick up furniture. A chair here, a side table there. I collect dusty antiques and restore them to their former beauty. The house is dilapidated and in dire need of renovations. I start renovating bathrooms while restoring antiques. New skills are born and there’s a certain soul and spirit of hope that start to appear in our little house in the woods. Later we will be able to afford a contractor that will cut a window in the wall of our upstairs bedroom so that the mattress can go up to its appropriate place and we will sleep like normal people in a bed in front of a window with an amazing view, sit on a couch in its appropriate living room and eat at a table in the kitchen. I manage to sell the last assets of the business and we buy a car and have a small deposit to buy the house. Two years later more miracles will happen. Stan will get a promotion to Calgary, Alberta. We will sell the rustic cabin at a decent profit and with this money and Stan’s relocation allowance, we will make back the money we lost to the last cent. How can this NOT be a miracle?
All these things go through my mind as I sit at a beautiful, serene lake in Texas, counting my blessings. Miracles do happen. Never give up hope. All you have to do is believe.