Wisdom for a bend in the road

Apr 24, 2015 | 4 comments |

Sometimes the path of life stretches in front of me straight and smooth. I know where I’m going and how to get there.

Far more often, though, that path twists and turns. It has stones, even boulders, which seem insurmountable. I stop, worry and wonder. Then I take a leap of faith, and somehow things work out.

“You never know what’s around the corner,” my paternal grandmother used to say. As a glass half-full person, she was optimistic about what the future would bring.

Yet, she lived through the Great Depression, or the ‘Dirty Thirties’ as they’re still remembered on the Canadian prairies, when year after year dust storms blew away crops, food was scarce, and jobs were even scarcer. She also sent a teenage son to war, buried an adult daughter, a husband and a grandchild, and outlived all her nine siblings. Her faith was her bulwark in troubled times, and family her comfort and inspiration.

Although she’s been gone for over twenty years, Grandma’s still one of the people who inspires me, and whose wisdom I draw on when life brings challenges.

This week, I reached another bend in my road. Although I saw it coming, I can’t see what’s beyond that hairpin curve or, at the moment, find the goodness amidst evil. 

As a writer, my fictional characters often surprise me. But just when my careful plot crumbles, and I think all is lost, I find a way through. Usually, it’s a better way.

In life and in fiction, I draw on Grandma’s optimism and wise words. I turn to my family and trusted friends. I eat ice cream. Then I pick myself up like she did so many times and keep going.

For as she also said, “there’s a way around every problem if you look hard enough. And maybe the answer has been staring you in the face all along.”

Who or what inspires you when you’re battered by life’s storms?


  1. Sue Bavin

    I’m so glad to know that your grandma has such a special place in your heart and that she continues to reach into your life. That’s what my gran does for me. She too lived through difficult times, including losing two of her children and being widowed at a relatively young age.

    I’m sorry that you are facing a tough time just now, but you are right – you will find your way through. Be brave, draw on Grandma’s influence and don’t let the ice cream run out. Sending virtual hugs xx

  2. Kim MacCarron

    Your post was so beautifully written and inspirational. I think we all draw on the experiences of those in our lives. Your grandmother’s story reminded me so much of Jeanette Walls’s books. Especially Half-Broke Horses, which was her grandmother’s true story set during the Dust Bowl in the midwest here in the states.
    For me, when I’m floundering or start to feel overwhelmed about something, I try just reminding myself that it’s all about perspective. Like when i wasn’t getting “the call” for the GH in the morning, but other people already were, I said to my husband, “Somebody this morning is waiting for a call from her doctor to tell her she has cancer. I need to get some perspective.” But then I got the call a couple hours, making us GH sisters! Yay! 🙂
    I think the best thing to do is to talk to someone or to brainstorm. I’m here if you need to do either. 🙂

  3. Heidi Vanston

    Thank you for sharing such heart-warming thoughts about your special Grandma and facing life’s tough and gritty moments. We all have them, of course, but when we’re in the midst of living them, it’s oh so hard to have objectivity!

    When I am feeling battered by circumstances, other people’s demands and expectations, I try to withdraw to a quiet place. Often, that is my bedroom. Once there, I try to lie still, to quell the raging storms of doubt, panic and worry. My faith is my bulwark during times like this.

    A dear friend gave me a small, wooden cross, symbolic of my Christian faith. I have developed the habit of holding the cross as I lie still, using it as a tangible centering point. It helps me remember that the universe is very big, but that I can contribute my time and talents to make it better. When I can live authentically, buoyed up by the belief that God works all things for good for those who love Him/Her, the “bend in the road” doesn’t seem quite so menacing. It’s still scary…but not as dark.

  4. Jen Gilroy

    Thank you, Heidi, Kim and Sue for visiting and commenting. Your kind words and support mean a great deal, as do your practical suggestions. I appreciate you reaching out, and virtual hugs to all of you. Jen xx



  1. Jen Gilroy » Finding goodness - […] regular readers of this blog know, goodness is my word for 2015. My last post focused on a bend…

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