Mielke: For everything there is a season

They were married on a red hot day in July with both sides of the families present to witness the momentous occasion.

It was a special day.

We sat out in our back yard for the gift opening and it seemed music was in the air and love floated around like a beautiful butterfly, gently touching each and every one of us.

It was magic.

In Ecclesiastes 3 it is written that for everything there is a season and a time for everything under the sun.

On that red hot day in July it certainly was a time of joy and of laughter.

It was my son’s wedding and as hard as it was for me to know the time had come to entrust him to the care of another women, I was confident he was in good hands.

When I looked into her eyes I could see she loved him like a love song.

That being said, I felt a gentle tug of the old heart strings when they drove off together in their rented ‘57 Cadillac.

That was 20 years ago.

Along with the marriage came the excitement of moving to a brand new home and, of course, the new job that awaited.

The oil and gas industry had seen fit to let my son become a cog in their giant wheel of progress.

He had worked hard in college and university to get to this place. He had done his due diligence and he had persevered.

When his mom called and asked to speak to him, his roommate could honestly say he was in the library studying. (well, almost always) When one lives with a social butterfly flitting around inside their very soul, every once in awhile, you just gotta get out and do stuff.

I knew that about my son, but I also knew that he had a craving for the kind of things money can buy.

Things like fancy trucks and name brand clothes. Well, actually at that time, I think that was about it.

And so I would send him books (which I doubt very much if he ever read, but still the intention was there). Books like ‘The Pursuit of Excellence’. And I bought him this poster that showed fancy vehicles and nice houses with the words: The Effects of Higher Education.

And I also prayed lots that he would work hard, and keep his social butterfly contained.

Anyway, when we all entered that season of joy and laughter it was was good.

He was marrying the girl of his dreams, and he had been hired by a reputable oil company.

I was happy and proud and settled down to wait for another grandchild.

It happened soon enough. The child was born on a cold and snowy December morn and when I first saw her I was pleased to see she had curly dark hair like her dad and eyes so blue you could get lost in them.

And so life went on and the oil industry provided the little family with a life style that was comfortable. Did I say comfortable?

I lied.

It was quite a bit more than comfortable. It was awesome.

But, as so happens in this life, what is given so generously is often just as quickly taken away.

Everyone knows the definition of oil is ‘boom and bust’

And right now, there seems to be a lot of ‘bust’ happening.

The oil industry in Alberta is on a precarious downward slope.

And, as they slide down that precarious slope, they are not going alone.

No siree! They are taking many employees with them.

And suddenly, these employees don’t seem to be people with hearts that beat under their work shirts. They’re not guys who have been told to pick up milk and bread for supper on their way home from work after they stop by the rink to pick up their child from hockey. They are not women who laugh and cry and feel sadness and joy and exhaustion.

No.

They are numbers.

I watched the news a few days ago. Ironically, it was right after the election.

Husky Energy’s Building in downtown Calgary is beautiful.

But why was there a double line-up of taxis outside their doors?. Why was staff coming out clutching paperwork and looking like the harsh snows of winter had already arrived at their doorstep.

Husky won’t give any numbers as to how many they laid off.

It doesn’t matter.

They are not numbers. They are people.

And that’s the bottom line.

They are people and every one of them has a story.

Their own story.

But, for everything there is a season.

And this season, too, shall pass!

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