Frozen Forgiveness

There are tonnes of things I love about living in Ottawa, and the Rideau Canal Skateway is number one, hands down.

In twenty-four winters of hopes dashed or bettered, I have never had a harsh word for the skateway.

Even when I went through to my thigh in ice-cold water (which is what I deserved for skating out of bounds).

Even when I sprained my thumb and had to forgo my very first xc-ski race (which is what I should have expected when skating with a brain-injured friend — twice my size).

Even when it melts and freezes and melts and freezes, when it’s bumpy, or crowded, or narrow, or short or when snow-covered cracks threaten to send me flying.

I absolutely always excuse it. I fiercely defend it. I’m unconditionally grateful when it’s open. I focus only on what’s good.

If only forgiveness were always so easy.

About Andrea

Andrea Ross was diagnosed with breast cancer October 6, 2009 and intends to survive and thrive. You can read more from Andrea here.

  • teresa

    Mark and Andrea 🙂
    It's Teresa…( I was at the Wild Oat until last August). I got an email from Amanda and she told me to check out your site here. I'm thinking of you both and sad to hear the word cancer but pretty overjoyed to read how you are living your day to day life with as much energy as ever 🙂 I was in China until mid December and am in Edmonton now but admit I havent kept up with JOMB for quite awhile, I'd best check that out as well! I look forward to keeping updated with this blog now.
    Love you both, love your zest and your smiles and all those weeks at The Oat that I got to see you… first it was two large americanos, then Mark had to mess things us with his whole Licorice tea thing!

  • Kelly

    'If only forgiveness were always so easy' You said a lot in that one sentence Andrea. I think it's easiest to give forgiveness to something that gives freely and asks nothing of you. The Rideau Canal freezes every year and you get to enjoy it reguardless of all its flaws and imperfections. Just like a pet that loves you unconditionally, it's like the canal gives you unconditional love so it's easier to defend it, excuse it, overlook it's flaws and be unconditonally grateful. It's too bad everything and everyone in life weren't so easy to forgive. What a happier world it would be 😎
    I think of you, Mark, Lucy and Bayla EVERY DAY! I miss you guys like crazy. Love ya lots, Your cousin Kelly

  • Hey Teresa,

    It's great to hear from you! Thanks for the note.

    We miss you. The Oat was not the same after you left and our 4 year tradition of delicious coffee and cozy atmostphere before our workday stopped long before my diagnosis. I'm salivating just thinking of your fabulous “crazy coffees”.

    I hope your adventure in China was a good one. And let us know when you're back from the west.

    be well and be happy,

  • Right. But people do hold the canal ice to indoor rink standards all the time.

    I guess my point is that when I'm injured or disappointed as a result of the canal, I clearly see that the ice conditions are simply a consequence of the weather — completely beyond the control of any anything or anyone.

    But the thoughtless or nasty actions of a human can surely be traced back to some external force that is beyond the control of that human, however insecure, thoughtless, nasty or malicious that human has become. So why do those injuries and disappointments stick and continue to hurt me?

    Maybe because, when the canal is unfrozen or unsafe for skating, I simply stay off it and that's that. It doesn't taunt me with phone calls, emails, parcels or letters from middle-men. It doesn't beg me to skate on it or put on a big show of how frozen and safe it is — how many other people are having fun skating on it! It doesn't blame me for the thaw.

    Of course, even these taunting actions are like bumps, cracks, gaping holes in the ice. There are reasons behind them. I should forgive and move on.

    And I should know my decision not to skate on thawed ice is the best one for me and for my family.


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