illusion (i-loo'zhen) n. 1. A false, misleading, or overly optimistic idea. 2. An impression not consistent with fact.
It has been a long time since I last updated this blog. I thought about why I haven't been blogging about Yellowknife life as I had originally intended and I have come up with some unfortunate truths. Originally when I started this blog, I chose to have an optimistic view of this particular northern experience of living in Yellowknife. Even though my heart was ripped out in leaving our home in southeastern Ontario, I eventually got over it, with God's help. I expected, however, to have a growing love take place in my heart for Yellowknife at the same time as getting over the heartbreak of leaving our previous home. To my perplexity this has not happened (yet). Quite the opposite, actually. There are people here I have come to know, love, and like, don't get me wrong, they are like precious droplets of water in a desert. I have had to supplement with alternate water sources to stay “hydrated”. Thank God for the internet making communication easy (when it, and the power, are not out that is). In the early months of our arrival up here I had full radar up for kindred spirits, I found few. And people up here are busy. Busy trying to live, to stay afloat, to maintain denial, to drown pain. Busy maintaining their illusions or escaping when it gets too much.
A big illusion I have encountered up here is that you will sock away money like nobody's business. That only works if you can find cheap accommodations ($400,000 for a decrepit trailer anyone?), put up with a freezing home to curb heat costs, hardly go out, don't buy any toys or new clothes and forget vacations. I can tell you right now that if you don't spend money on toys, vacations, heat or decent accommodations – you will quickly forget about the money you were supposedly saving and run. It is way too hard in this environment. In order to survive up here you will make compromises and you'll cut your losses. If you believe in God's calling on your life to be here, that will certainly help, He supplies grace, but that doesn't mean you don't get to experience the full brunt of this physical, spiritual and emotional environment at one point or another.
I have met a few folks who have told me they came up for 2 -3 years, but stayed 20. I would like to know their full stories. Some folks seem to thrive on hardship, gives them something to do. Perhaps they “work hard and play hard”, however that is usually a symptom of running from the realities of life. A way of avoiding pain, it's unbalanced, which has a reckoning day. There's a local bumper sticker that some like to put on their impractical and overpriced toys (mammoth pick-up trucks), it says, “If you can't have fun up here then give up”. I find it sad that these stickers come from a popular bar in town. There is mass addiction of every type up here, spanning every demographic. Adultery is a huge problem. Some of the highest debt accumulation in the country occurs right here in Yellowknife. Yet they party on...
My prayer has been to bring healing to the broken up here and after 2 years I am wondering if the broken are just happy to get their next fix, because I have not seen any growth, until recently. I am hopeful, that a recent life adjusting event that has occurred, which touched many in this community, will bump at least some out of the deep ruts in this town's roads. The government can throw money at this place all it wants, but if the people don't want to change, they won't. The illusions of money and adventure are perpetuated by large paycheques that get consumed by the business of survival (choose your poison) until the trap is fully locked on a life. I wonder how many of those people who stay, do so because they are perpetually hoping to recover from the financial and emotional landslide they realized too late – and if they left now (if that is even possible at this point) – it would appear to all have been for naught. How many of us are truly that humble, to know when we're beat, that our plans didn't work, or when it becomes obvious we've been deceived by illusions, to cut our losses and make a break for a real chance of recovery, while still licking our wounds? Not many.
I count myself blessed, in that although I was optimistic, I fell for few illusions. I believe our family was called here by God, that is the only reason we came, my husband's job has been a vehicle for God's purposes in our lives. So I am thankful, that although it's often been hard and ugly, I have learned a lot – and am still learning, and hoping. I am hoping for some miracle of God to transpire in people's lives here, that they would experience the lovingkindness of God and I would see it before I leave, thus experiencing His lovingkindness to me in the fulfillment of a dream. He has taken care of me and my family in that we have been protected from many of the traps of this place. My prayer is this, that I will be given the gift of seeing God move in His amazing and awesome way upon Yellowknife lives, dismantling and destroying the traps that keep them from abundance, that keep this place from abundance. I pray for the strength and grace necessary to navigate what must come before that is possible; the dismantling of illusions.