This past year has been one of difficulty and newfound joys.
Difficulties have by and large been university related, along with the ways that university affects all other areas of my life. The lethargy of sitting so much as a student, the busy pace of city life, living in a cramped basement apartment with very little natural light, and not having the close knit strong christian community that I had in Muskoka, where people there did life together really well…. all of those things had a compounded impact on my overall health and personality this past year.
Joys have included biking all over the city, runs and walks on woodbine beach, making and also refinishing discarded furniture into something beautiful and practical. I refinished a table left on the curb that served well as our kitchen table. Nyima helped me make my own custom bed frame out of old barn boards, as well as several gorgeous shelves. I met Nyima while slacklining at a park, and we became fast friends and… yes, eventually more. We went on many adventures together and I discovered a man who it is so natural and easy to do life with. Someone I can work alongside, play with and who has the strength to make it through the tougher situations with me. I am blessed to have him in my life and excited to see where God leads us and our relationship.
This past fall, while in my third year at Ryerson, I developed a gluten and dairy intolerance. It was during my most difficult and stressful semester at school, and I believe the combination of excess stress, not eating as clean and healthy as I normally did, and not getting enough exercise or space to care for my spiritual and emotional needs…. it all contributed to my gut health being compromised. Having never had any food allergies in my life, this was a tough one to come to terms with and navigate, as I have had to drastically change my diet eating habits. I know many people reading this can probably relate. We often take our health for granted until it is suddenly no longer 100%!
I came out to work at the lumber mill in Fort St James, BC. Apollo Forest Products. This is actually the village I was born in, and it hasn’t changed much since my childhood. It is the one place from my childhood that I have to go back to, and it has been a neat experience, returning to my literal roots where my mother and sister have also moved back to. I lived with and was able to be a support to my elderly grandparents with limited mobility and who really needed the extra help of a young strong person around their house and property. They were gracious enough to share their car with me so I could get to work and back. When I wasn’t cooking, cleaning or doing gardening and yard work, I had the joy of hiking up the mountain alone, building a shelter, swimming and getting some fishing in. Lots of my free time was spent alone, or around my grandparents. Not easy by any means, but a nice change of pace from living in Toronto. I realized that I desperately needed to be out in the wilderness and to breathe fresh mountain air. That is until the forest fires started raining down ash and blanketing our village in smoke!
My family, along with most of the Fort St James residents, evacuated over the last few days. It meant losing my last two weeks of work in the mill, which is a significant financial hit I was not expecting, but I know that God will provide for me regardless. I booked a new flight so that I can head back to Toronto earlier, which will be a blessing because I will have a whole week to pack up my apartment, instead of just 1 day, as was the previous plan! Here I sit in smokey Prince George, a registered evacuee, safely away from the harm of an unconfined and uncontrollable wildfire, and changing my plans as circumstances beyond my control unfold.
From September onwards my plan is uncertain. I am taking a break from university to focus on getting my health back in every dimension of my being. While I found 15% of what I learned at university valuable, a lot of it was a waste of my mind, time, money and energy. It also was not worth the toll it took on my emotional, mental, physical and spiritual health. I decided that I need to get back to doing the things that bring me life, so that I am living fully alive and as the woman God made me to be. Only then can I pour into others the gifts and love God has poured out onto me. This break and focus on recovering my health involves minimizing stress as much as possible. Part of this means moving out of Toronto for a season and back to Muskoka, Ontario.
IRELAND, here I come! Part of becoming “me” again involves feeding the adventurous travel loving side that has always wanted to visit Ireland and discover the heritage of my Doyle clan, of which I am 1/4 Irish. It would be amazing if I could meet some of my distantly related Doyle relatives! In October I go for 13 days. I have my flight booked and a car rental reserved and I am so excited for this solo road trip in a foreign land. I’ve waited for 10 years to do this trip, always hoping to find someone to go with me, and I finally decided that I am done waiting. I enjoy my own company enough to go alone, make new friends along the way, and sit in the company of strangers with beautiful accents.
My return will involve me finding work that hopefully involves using my giftings and doing something that is life giving. I will also need to figure out my living situation in Muskoka. There are a lot of uncertainties, but I feel total peace because my trust is in the one who has always guided my steps, protected me, provided for me, and led me to meet some of the most beautiful people and life long friends. My trust is in the most trustworthy person in existence, and I feel so safe knowing that my life is in God’s hands, and His hands alone.