Let the light shine

Forty-two years ago, none of our family really wanted to move to Kansas. We were leaving so many friends behind and we all loved living in Edmonton, Alta.
Edmonton is a beautiful city built on the North Saskatchewan River, with a city council committed to serious city planning.
In the 1940s, when there were almost no city planning departments in North America universities, the council hired city planners from England.
The city is built around small neighborhood communities. Every small community had a church, schools, a park, a ball diamond, and a small shopping centre, including a grocery store and a drug store.
And most of all a skating rink. At age three, both of our children skated very well. And every boy, including our son, had a hockey stick.
The river banks were lined with parks. Our favourite was Kinsmen’s Park.
Kinsmen’s was a delight for children. They could climb, swing, slide, and play in the wading pool. During the summer, our family went at least three times a week for wiener roasts with friends. While the children played, the mothers brewed coffee and the fathers played nine holes of “Pitch and Putt.”
No wonder we didn’t want to leave. But I knew we were moving to a college community and, having lived in college communities before, I knew I loved them.
That gave me some hope. But our eight-year-old daughter did not want to leave and told us so in no uncertain terms!
We tried to make the move as easy as possible. And by Christmas time, we knew we were home-free when she said, “Now, you’ve really ruined my life! If I moved back to Edmonton, I would miss my friends from Kansas.”
We all felt the same way, as we learned to love Kansas–the open spaces, small-town living, friendly people, knowing our doctors and dentists as friends, and most of all the weather.
Last Sunday, when I was writing this column, my husband’s brother called from Alberta. I complained about our cold weather–it was 14 degrees Fahrenheit with a windchill of nine degrees.
Orval commiserated with me, but then reported that it was 26 degrees below zero there.
And once again, I was reminded why I like Kansas!
Located 400 miles north of the U.S. border, Edmonton is not only cold but has short days in the winter and short nights in the summer. I loved the long balmy summer evenings. But by December, our daughter went to school at dawn and came home at twilight.
Last Sunday had the feel of Edmonton. It was too cold, too windy, and too dark. And so gloomy that we had to have the lights on all day.
Sometimes life is like that–dark and gloomy. With little hope.
But that’s the time to sit in your living room with all the lights out, plug in your Christmas tree–and think. Try it this week as we pass through the shortest day of the year on Dec. 21.
Think of all the wonderful Christmases you’ve had in your lifetime. Think about your many friends and your family. Think about your community, your church, your nice warm home, and electricity to light the night.
Then resolve to spread the light to everyone you meet in 2009.
Marie Snider is an award-winning health care writer and syndicated columnist. Write her at thisside60@aol.com or visit www.visit-snider.com

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