It’s a grand thing to be on the cyber pages of The Observer to celebrate the New Year. I realize that the church teaches that Advent is the start of the year, and some celebrate January 1st. But it’s not just the smell of evergreens that makes me think of new beginnings; it’s the smell of a brand new box of crayons.
Pencil shavings from the hand-crank sharpener, chalk on a blackboard, coal dust and pink erasers were ambrosia for this kid who could hardly wait to start deciphering all those sticks and balls that make the alphabet, unlocking the world of words. I love September for these memories, and I love new beginnings.
Over the summer, during Aboriginal Day celebrations and the first national Truth and Reconciliation Commission event, I thought a lot about new beginnings. I dare to believe that we have arrived at the starting point of a new way of understanding ourselves as Canadians. I believe that, after generations of misunderstanding the very land we call home, that we are finally opening our hearts and minds to partnership possibilities. We stand to become rich in what matters.
And I humbly dare to believe that our church has played a role during our 25-year struggle to “get it right.” Beginning with the 1986 Apology to First Nations for not listening when First Peoples tried to explain the spiritual beliefs of this land, through to the 1998 Apology for our part in the 150-year Residential School “experiment,” and culminating in the work with other involved churches and the government in the Right Relations movement today, I feel encouraged.
This past summer seemed a watershed, a lightening and a loosening. The movement is gathering strength from what had been to what is and can be. I feel resurrection hope.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission event in Winnipeg started well and national media paid attention. May we pray for the ongoing work of the commissioners as they prepare for more gatherings throughout Canada and be awake to opportunities to participate. I hope we’ll update ourselves on sites like www.thechildrenremembered.ca, archives.united-church.ca/archives.htm and www.trc.ca.
It’s a new year. I will watch, read, listen and support the Commission in whatever ways I can. I’ll break open a box of new crayons. And I will draw a rainbow over a maple leaf.
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