Last week was not among my personal favourites. My pain level was through the roof, and any time I wasn’t weeping the sky did it for me. All the same, I signed up for a hike on Phase 2 of the Greenway. For the first time I asked if CRIS could bring an empty Trail-Rider in case I needed it, and they told me they both could and would. For all my brave words about adapting to pain, it’s a real struggle for me to admit when I need help. I’m much more likely to try to fight my way through. That frame of mind has been both to my benefit and my detriment, and I am slowly learning to temper tenacity with discretion. I did, in fact, need the Trail-Rider, and I had an absolutely amazing hike. It was one of the few sunny days we’ve had, and the wildflowers were all in bloom. On my own feet or in the Trail-Rider, I felt more relaxed and at peace than I had in days. It put a distance between me and my pain, and brought me closer to some extraordinary people.
Many of the people that work with CRIS are volunteers, but in the summer we also get practicum students as well as summer students. It has become quite a crew, and I don’t envy the skills required to organize them all! I had a chance, earlier this year, to take part in some of the interviews for our summer students. What struck me immediately about all our applicants was the sheer passion they had for the CRIS program. Nobody was applying because it sounded like a good way to get a tan. We have young men and women of varying heights and physical abilities, each coming from a different educational background. With all their disparities, they always come together as a team. It’s so exciting to watch differences disappear into common resolve and bonds of friendship.
Troy Becker, who founded CRIS, is a superb example of the spirit of personal investment that makes this program so distinctive. He is driven to provide the safest and most spectacular experience possible. I like to think that the part of himself that he has invested into CRIS draws similar souls to him, like filings to a magnet. We cannot help but be part of a greater vision and a wider scope of possibility.
I was thinking all these things as I rode in comfort between two laughing young people. I thought about what we’ve begun, all of us, what we drive beyond any single summer. I have to hope that programs like CRIS will spread out from here. We’ve had an occupational therapist student from Maine call to interview us about the program and what it has achieved, and I left that conversation feeling certain that CRIS had drawn yet another spirit to itself.
In the meantime, we here in beautiful Kelowna have the opportunity to join a community where such devotion exists. Each of us has a chance to find out where our truest and deepest investments lie.
I am many things. I am a writer, a singer, and a pianist. I am blind. I am also deeply and permanently invested in the health and well-being of my city, my neighbourhood, my province, and myself. How better to come to that realization than under a blue sky in a field of yellow and white with the scent of wild roses on the breeze?
So in the end, I am left only to ask you, my reader and friend: where do you spend yourself? How’s your return on that?
If you feel a tug towards kindred spirits, give us a call. There’s always room for more investors here.