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Finding Peace After Tragedy

I wish I didn't have to write this. I wish I was writing an Easter message about lent leading to resurrection, or videos and stories about meeting Martin Luther King, Jr.'s family in Atlanta this month, or news from the peace and justice conference I attended there. But a tragedy has struck my city, Toronto, and I am compelled to walk the long path back to peace with my fellow Torontonians, and the others around the world whose hearts are with us at this time.

Peace Fought, Peace Lost

I met a man who came from away
With no friends, no money, no English
Everything against him

But he was proud
He had two hands, he wanted to work
Not accept help

This man went to Toronto and almost starved
Before he found somewhere to eat and sleep

This man has two degrees, he’s a priest, he risked his life defending human rights
He can’t go to law school because his war-torn country can’t send his degrees
How ludicrous
He could teach the truth that children should not be used as soldiers
That people who defend children should not get shot

The Peace "zone" is ever possible

I had the best day, and it's only 4pm! I find myself with an unexpectedly free afternoon and am wondering how to "spend" this gift of time. While I have many more Mexico stories to share, I want to share the joy of this day with you, while reminding myself that peace can be ever present. It is palpable to me today through intentional mindfulness and prayer. It's easy to be mindful and prayerful on a peace retreat — that's my sole purpose on retreat, and I can order my day around it, starting with meditation and prayer, then walking and speaking through my day with a wide open heart.

How to be OK when life's not OK

Last week I attended chapel and heard a very inspiring message from a woman who's had cancer. Looking young, vibrant and beautiful, I would never have known she was sick if she hadn't shared it. But there were many days when she was neither vibrant nor beautiful, and struggled to know where her worth lay then. A woman of faith, she strongly believes in the inherent worth of all people, but when she could not contribute to the family, to her business, nor be productive in the usual ways, she emotionally, if not mentally, questioned her worth.

Positive Thinking versus Faith

A friend recently asked me how my back was. “Good,” I replied. “No more pain; that’s over with?” he responded. “I wouldn’t say that, but it’s better,” I answered. This led to a conversation about the healing power of positive thinking, and how proclaiming my pain-free present and future self could help actualise it. My friend expressed surprise that that my strong Christian faith didn’t result in a more positive response towards my own healing, and that he, with less faith, might have more hope.

Feeding body and soul on a cold winter’s day

I live in a wonderfully walkable neighbourhood in Toronto, the largest metropolis in Canada, so I tend to shop close to home. But a dry cleaning emergency this month led me to another pedestrian destination, Roncesvalles Village, during my lunch hour today. I was thrilled to find an adjacent eatery with healthy, vegetarian options. As I left with several meals to save time for writing and photography, I put my change in my pocket.

Two Wheels

Trees and paths

Leaves and needles

I collect burrs like badges on two wheels

Three million neighbours and no one knows I’m here

except the squirrel ignoring me in the twilight

 

Night falls

I climb

up hills which hid the ravine

Gentle drops and warm wind, slough off the day’s cares

as I race the downpour to my door

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