Sunday, 7 October 2012

Giving Thanks

Breaking bread, communing with friends and family, we take this opportunity to give thanks.  Thanks, for the plenty on our tables; thanks, for living in a place of confidence, optimism and economic opportunity; thanks, for angels among us who teach, heal, serve, give generously, witness, and pray; thanks, for times to hope and dream, to love.  Calgary has much to celebrate this Thanksgiving. Vibrant Ukrainian programs for young people, Ukrainian dancing, culture programs, language classes, social club, spiritual homes to choose from, and purposeful opportunities to make a difference - it is hard not to see the lovely life we have created here.

Ukraine is, at this moment, facing tough decisions about its future.  While the diaspora may grumble about the weather and politics, people in the ancestral homeland have lived with less optimism.  One indicator is the fact that so many new immigrants from Ukraine have assertively sought to establish themselves in Calgary's cradle of economic opportunity.  They are glad to be here, glad to contribute to Canada, glad to receive the gifts of good education, health, economic freedoms, that lack at home.  We can collectively acknowledge that, though life here isn't perfect, and it may be human nature to complain, every now and then we should open our eyes, take an opportunity to speak to the new people to our city, and ask the interesting questions.  Given the choices, why here?

In the summer I had a chat with my friend Bohdanna from Montreal.  Understanding my love of reading she recommended a new book. Recently I picked it up, Bloodlands by Timothy Snyder.  It's not an easy read, but an excellent one.  Snyder carefully explains the many twists and turns that have befallen the Ukrainian (and other) ancestral homelands this past century.  And in trying to fathom the deeds, the mindset of those people who dominated Ukrainian history in the 1900's, who wickedly imposed inhuman, beastily tactics to shape the world in a manner to benefit the few and bereft the many, to....I am at a loss for words.  The English language simply doesn't have a sufficiently descriptive word to describe this evil.  Perhaps our level of morality dictates that such a word not exist. My curious mind wants to understand how and why...... 

How fortunate to live here, and now!  Ukraine will choose its path forward, in elections later this October,  while its Calgary diaspora lovingly gazes upon our families, generously sharing the good fortune that comes of sober thinking, serious consideration, and wise choices.  GIVING THANKS!
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