Yesterday, all eyes were on Canada as we watched the shocking attack that took place on our nation’s capital. We had never before experienced something of this magnitude on Canadian soil, and for many of us, it was simply surreal.
It’s too early to know what the full impact of yesterday’s events will have on our nation; though, it feels like something has changed. Like we have arrived at a crossroads of sorts. Do we choose to live in fear? Do we allow ourselves to be intimidated? Do we give up certain freedoms to be safe?
I work in downtown Toronto, each day travelling to Canada’s largest city by commuter train into Union Station, the busiest public transit hub in Canada. Do I worry for my safety? Should I be anxious about who I’m sitting or standing beside? I feel safer seeing law enforcement and extra security on the streets and in our subways, but do we want this to be our new, permanent reality?
I know I’m not alone in asking these questions.
How we choose to react, in the aftermath of yesterday’s events, as a nation, and as individuals privileged to live in our great country, will undoubtedly alter the fabric of our nation, for better or worse.
What I know is that I don’t want what happened yesterday to make us forget that there is good in our country and in our world.
I don’t want us to forget that we can also do our part to be part of that good.
The late author and poet Maya Angelou once said,
“Someday we’ll be able to measure the power of words. I think they are things. They get on the walls. They get in your wallpaper. They get in your rugs, in your upholstery, and your clothes, and finally into you.”
Every word of appreciation we say, every word of encouragement we speak, every word of comfort we bestow adds to the good of our world, even in times of upheaval and uncertainty. I’d say even more so in these times.
This morning, as part of my organization’s United Way campaign launch, a young man came in to speak to us about the impact the United Way has had on his family. He described the sudden horrific health emergency his mother experienced 20 years ago, and how in an instant, his life as a 10-year-old was turned upside down. He then went on to tell us, with tremendous appreciation, about the incredible support his family received from numerous United Way partner organizations that were funded by donations from people like you and me. On this somewhat somber-feeling day, this young man’s story reminded me that it doesn’t take much for any of us to make a positive difference in someone’s life.
I leave you with a video of 7-year-old Caiden Perez, whose story I heard about on Toronto’s G98.7 radio station during its daily morning feature called “Feel Good Moment of the Day”. The “Feel Good Moment of the Day” is G98.7’s way of sharing positive and inspiring stories amidst the seemingly non-stop flow of fear- and stress-inducing news and information we see in the media each day. Let this video be a small reminder that good is alive and well in the world.