There is absolutely nothing more humiliating than the feeling of desperately being in need of some help.
Even if I tried to explain how it felt to walk into the Whistler food bank to stand in line to get a box of food, there is no possible way of knowing how this feels unless your in that position yourself.
That feeling of knowing that it was just yesterday I was a respected man of the community, a ski patroller, firefighter, medic, raised a step son for 13 years and had the most wonderful family life. Never did I ever think for a minute during all those years that one day I would find myself standing in line at the food bank with my hand out asking for the help.
On the other hand, it is equally as difficult to express just how grateful one feels to receive the help.
I’ll never forget the warm tears rolling down my face as I stood in the Food bank reaching for 2 potatoes, 4 carrots, 4 apples, 4 oranges, a bag of rice or pasta, 6 eggs, and a choice of coffee or tea, a box of cereal, and even some spices if I wanted and to my surprise I could even have a desert of some sort, cookies or cake mix.
The greatest gift I received that day, was when they asked me if I was in need of cat or dog food ?
My smile just lit up and I humbly said yes, my best little Buddy Meathead sure would love to eat also.
I was on my way to a better day than the one I had yesterday and that’s all that mattered to me at that moment, and boy oh boy let me tell you just how much “hope” that had given me knowing that there were people who did care about people like me who had fallen on some seriously tough times.
It wasn’t just the food that brought me hope that day, it was a over whelming feeling of community support, it was meeting the other people in line who were also just as much in need as I, and the free lunch they cooked for us that day I will always and forever be most grateful for that warm meal, soup and bread that was given to me as a human that day that brought me the most fire in my soul, a reason to live, a reason to put in the work so that I could maybe one day return the favour, return the goodness that the Whistler Food bank put in my heart that day.
As much as I really hated to have been in that position, it opened my eyes and my mind to a lot more than I could ever try and write in this blog post – the respect, love and support that was given to me that day, inspired me to want to do the same for someone else one day.
The simple act of kindness, giving with out wanting anything else in return is by far the absolute greatest gift that can ever be shared between human beings.
What I had really learned also was that , asking for help is by all means not a sign of weakness, rather a sign of strength. What it takes inside of a man or a woman to be humble enough to even reach your hand up off the ground, and ask for help is 100 times more tough than flipping some stupid tractor tire.
We got back to the cabin, and it was time to go to work. I had food in my belly, my best little buddy in my corner and a massive tractor to defeat.
I found that what I loved most was that I actually hated that tire, I hated trying to muster up the strength to go battle it, but what I was unconsciously doing was hating myself and battling the worst enemy of all .. my mind.
My mind would tell me how sore I was, how poor I was, how weak I was and how depressed I was all while constantly telling myself I had nothing, and nobody while we stood out there alone, hopeless, helpless and still pretty hungry.
The only thing I had to get ride of this anger, sadness, guilt and shame was and try and gain that sense of accomplishing something was when I would flip that dam tire hatting every single minute of it.
The chatter inside my head while walking out to the battlefield gave me strength, the drive to be a world class champion fighter and upon digging in deep was certainly the greatest challenge, to over ride all the negativity, all the thoughts with each flip of the tire relieved that pain and sorrow.
I found that each time I sat and just looked out into the mountains I began to try and figure out where I went wrong, how I ended up like this and why?
I would sit while my mind tried to decipher all the images, the emotions, and all the wrong turns, the people, and mistakes i’ve made.
With each though I began to just forgive it, at the same time I would find myself being grateful that I was just alive to even be here to think about these things.
I found that gave me enough encouragement to keep on flipping day in and day out.
Instead of being defeated at the end of battle and how many hours I put into that day, I felt proud of myself for getting out here and just trying my best.
Each day, we would flip a few more hours, forgive a lot more people and find more things to be grateful for.
Exhausted at the end of each day, I would make something eat and finally began to sleep. Not only sleep but my nightmares, anger and sadness turned to dreams, goals, and strength.
The harder and longer we stayed on the battle field, the tougher the challenges , the better I felt each minute of every day. In order to conquer the darkness, and all the negative emotions that come with it, I needed to get out and put in this work.
With each person I would forgive, I could see their face and remembered the pain they caused. I did my best to forgive them. This is not a easy task in itself, and for some of the people we are to forgive, takes many years of doing it everyday.
Its not just the words “I forgive you”, it’s finding the root cause of what your actually forgiving and digging in deep within the process to understand your own role in the situation and holding yourself accountable and taking full responsibility to contributing to the matter.
We would go back and forth to that tire a few hours a day in the first week or 2, which turned into many more hours and after nearly a full month of going back and forth and back and forth I had never in my life felt so alive, so free, my mind clear as the beautiful blue skies above even if it was pouring rain.
This was the time I needed to get to know myself, so I could just be myself and just Love myself again.
Your Friend, Our Voice
Terrance J. Kosikar