I have to tell a story about Canada's 100th birthday. I was nine then... which gives away my age, and my mom was expecting a baby - great excitement in our house! And she was due on July 1!
My siblings and I got wind that any baby born on that day would receive special recognition and prizes, and we thought that was great. Except my baby sister came two days early - and we are celebrating her 50th birthday this week!
We were glad for our little sister, but it took my childish mind a little while to get over the fact she had missed THE day to be born - but the amusing twist in this story is that my sister's first child was born on July 1st. So she made it right, after all! :-)
As we celebrate this week, and wear the red and white, I've been thinking about our country. I'm so thankful to live in Canada. When I've traveled abroad, especially to poor nations, I realize how much we have, how much we take for granted.
And so I am thankful.
Thankful that my great-grandparents had the courage to become refugees and come to a place where we could be free to practice our faith, a safe place for generations to come.
Thankful for the incredible vast beauty that we take in every day, it sometimes takes my breath away.
Thankful for resources, for water that comes from a tap, for heat and clean air.
Thankful for our medical system, and when I have a medical crisis, a financial crisis does not come with it.
I've come to dislike the word "proud". Oh, I get it, there is a nobleness in patriotism.
But with it comes an air that we deserve this; a sense of entitlement and fighting for rights we claim as ours.
I didn't choose my parents, or where I was born, or the country in which I reside.
I didn't choose my economic status or the colour of my skin.
I didn't choose my genes or my gender.
I think of our Indigenous people who question some of our celebrations. Their ancestors were here well before our nation was formed.
It is easy to become fragmented, and divided.
I believe listening to stories. Every person has a story, if we just take the time to listen. We all have a history and can learn from one another. Recently I read "The Earth is Round" by Margaret Epp, which tells the story in novel form of how one family - a Mennonite family - immigrated to Canada. These are my roots!
I'm so grateful we are opening our doors to new refugees. I see Canada as a welcoming place, a place where all can come and create a home.
In an age of terrorism and much hate, we can be part of creating a neighbourhood - where we all belong; where we listen and value one another, no matter what our status.
So - thankful for Canada. Thankful for our Canadian family, diverse and free.