In light of the discovery of even more unmarked graves at Canada’s residential schools, it is difficult to know how we should mark Canada Day this year. How do we respond to evil?
By way of an answer (and I realise that this response is still wholly inadequate), perhaps the best thing we can do is to listen to the stories of our Indigenous brothers and sisters. The other thing we can do when bad things happen is to commit ourselves to doing good.
Like Leon. Andy Langford, Mark Ralls, and Rod Weber tell his story on page 163 of their book, Beginnings. The Spiritual Life:
“Leon was a successful businessman, helping run a textile mill and then buying and selling commercial real estate. Although Leon was active in his community throughout his life, his retirement truly unleashed his potential to serve. Leon cooked meals for the homeless, built Habitat for Humanity homes, added wheelchair ramps to the homes of the elderly, and visited older members in his community who had been forgotten. When Leon was seventy-seven years old, he risked journeying to Bolivia to help build a new church facility in the Andes. For two weeks, Leon worked at 13,800 feet above sea level, digging holes through the rock for the foundation of the new building. After two weeks of work, Leon and his friends had dug twelve large holes that would be used for the foundations of the projected facility. Leon never saw the finished building; the facility took several more years to build. But Leon dug the hole for the foundation; and that foundation has since changed the lives of children, women, and men that Leon never met.”
What good things can you commit yourself to in the second half of life? As Baby Boomers and older adults, we all have many talents and a lifetime’s worth of experience to share with others. What better way to mark Canada Day – or any other day, for that matter – than by resolving to do something good for others.