Helping Our Own



Every time I try to say something succinctly, it winds up being longer than I’d like, but here’s my opinion, which is NOT open for argument (which many people confuse as discussion):

I am not better than any of the Syrian refugees. They have as much right to shelter, food, stability, and safety, as I do. My life, my job, my family, are all because I was born in Canada. This country helped me when I needed help, provided a foster home when I needed care, and gave me the opportunity to be safe, get an education, and build a life for myself. If I had been born in Syria or Afghanistan, I probably would not be alive today.

When I think about the refugee situation, I think “there but for the grace of God go I”. All that I have today can be gone tomorrow because of civil war or an act of terrorism. Every day, I am grateful I was born here.

Compared to most people in the world, North Americans are rich with privilege, much of it just because we were lucky enough to be born in this country. Millions of children, who months ago had bedrooms and dinner tables and doctors and schools, are sleeping directly on the ground, their parents unable to secure shelter or food for them, much less healthcare or education.

We have access to education and healthcare. We have a peaceful society and programs to help us when we hit stormy waters. And we have a choice – we can share with others and help them find the peace and safety they so desperately seek, or we can turn our backs and become hateful and fearful of people of a different culture or religion.

How can you harden your heart against others, especially the children who are hungry and cold? These are families just like yours. These are mothers and father, brothers and sisters – all just trying to be safe, and to live free.

We need to be human beings, and understand that every human being has basic needs and that the lucky among us can afford to share our luck to ease suffering. Stop thinking, posting, politicizing around the idea that we just can’t help before we’ve taken care of our own people.

There is no such thing as “our own people”. Every human being is our own. Every hungry child, grieving mother, frightened husband, weary grandmother is our own. Nobody gets to pretend our world is a different world from the world that creates civil wars and bombs and hunger.

Anyone can fall at any time. It’s up to each of us to be there to catch them when they do.

It’s Started


I woke up this morning and saw a thin white layer covering the ground outside. My heart immediately sank. It had started; the snow had come. It was all downhill from here. Shorter days and longer nights. Dropping temperatures, until we once again become frozen tundra. I don’t embrace winter. I don’t ski, or skate (anymore); to be honest, I seldom even walk the dog in the winter. I hibernate and get depressed.

It also means that Christmas is coming. I love celebrating Christmas, but here’s another admission – I’m not so crazy about all that shopping beforehand. I absolutely hate shopping. I often wonder if I should try to start making gifts instead of buying, but I’d have to be organized enough to start in January.

Or I could seriously plan some online shopping. I could start my list in August/September, and start shopping online for deals. Then there would be enough time for delivery.

On second thought, I’m not crazy about online shopping. The only things I’ve ever ordered online that didn’t disappoint me were personal products and books. Clothes never fit me (and then I have to go through the trouble of returning) and other products don’t look like they did in photos.

I’m trying something new this year. I’m usually busy at work and find it difficult to get the shopping done on the way home from work or just on weekends, when the malls are at their worst. That definitely stresses me out and makes the entire experience unpleasant. This year I’ve taken lots of time off, so I can put the tree up and decorate it, shop for the gifts when the malls aren’t their busiest, and do it at a leisurely pace. I need to make it a positive, stress-free activity. Maybe that will improve the experience.

That and a pair of good shoes.

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