Wednesday, July 02, 2014

A Gaze-Raising Anniversary - Peter Black

A young man and his obviously pregnant wife arrived at Toronto’s Pearson Airport. Between them they toted hand-baggage and lugged a couple of bulging suitcases. And like millions of young couples emigrating before them, they marshalled along a young family—an active toddler and a preschooler. 

That was June, 1974. Their relatives, who’d come to Canada eight years earlier, were waiting at the arrivals gate. Waving their arms they shouted, “Over here!” After hugs and excited greetings, the newcomers found themselves gliding down the 401 highway in the largest and longest car they’d ever ridden in. 

It was fully four decades ago, May and I, with Jay and Chris, set foot on Canadian soil. Jerome made his appearance three months later. These events are rather fresh with us just now. Canada is our home and adopted land and we are Canada’s adopted children.
 
We’ve lived much longer here than we did in the UK. Chris proudly sports a tattooed heraldic crest of the Black Clan on his upper-arm, and beneath it are the words, “Made in Scotland.” Oh, but he’s Canadian in pretty much every way. He was the toddler, and had his second birthday two days after our arrival. 

We thank God for this country and the blessings of political and civil stability, and for the opportunities Canada offers for personal growth, education and employment. We’re thankful also for ample food, a healthcare system, the right to vote and run for office and to practice our faith, among a host of other benefits. However imperfect our country might be (and the imperfections include ourselves), our lot is infinitely better than for the vast majority of the world’s population.  

One could extol Canada’s virtues ad infinitum. However, it is people who make a house a home, and it is people who helped make us feel at home in Canada. They include you.
 
F-18Courtesy:markbraye.wordPress.com
We didn’t plan anything special to celebrate our 40th Anniversary here. Jay and Chris were caught up in their own communities with their respective families, and Jerome was busy, too (he’s everybody’s go-to friend in his extensive social and professional circles). And so, we all let our Canadian anniversary date sail by. 

But, surprise! The Government of Canada graciously marked the occasion with a stunning aerobatic display by an F-18 fighter jet. The pilot took it on a low fly-over with a deafening roar that shook our house to its foundations. And the famous Canadian Snowbirds also thrilled us, putting on a marvellous aeronautic formation display. 

Okay, so it was coincidental that our local airport convened the air-show the same weekend as our big anniversary in Canada. However, our gaze was raised—literally; we had to look up and crane our aging, creaking necks to see those sights.
 
This delightful display on our Canadian 40th was nicely followed by Canada Day, two weeks later; now that has also passed for another year. 

When we received Canadian citizenship, several years later, we assumed not only the rights and privileges, but also the responsibilities. And those included registering our vote in elections. Did you (Ontarians) vote in our recent provincial election? A federal election looms next year, I hope we will all exercise our privilege of a free vote. 

We may not like the results of some elections; nevertheless, we should value our privileges, won at the price of blood. We’ve been reminded of that, with a national focus on the 70th anniversary of D-Day. 

It’s now close to two thousand years since our eternal salvation was secured for us through the supreme sacrifice of Jesus’ blood, shed on the cross of Calvary. The forgiveness of all our sins and a restored relationship with God, with grace and peace, were won for us there.
 
Our ultimate citizenship is in heaven (Philippians 3:20).  

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Peter’s new book, “Raise Your Gaze . . . Musings of a Grateful Heart,” is due for release in Fall, 2014.
 Peter A. Black is a freelance writer in Southwestern Ontario, and is author of “Parables from the Pond” – a children's / family book (mildly educational, inspirational in orientation, character reinforcing). Finalist – Word Alive Press. ISBN: 1897373-21-X. The book has found a place in various settings with a readership ranging from kids to senior adults.
His inspirational column, P-Pep! appears weekly in The Guide-Advocate (of Southwestern Ontario). His articles have appeared in 50 Plus Contact and testimony, and several newspapers in Ontario.

Raise Your Gaze     Family And Faith Matters

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12 comments:

Alan said...

Thank you, Peter. Your words touch me deeply. We can be very grateful to live in our time and place.

Tracy Krauss said...

Canada is a great country - whether one was born here whether it was the country of choice.

Peter Black said...

Thank you, Alan and Tracy. In our case, we were privileged to be accepted as immigrants at that time; it would likely be more difficult nowadays.
Why we came is another story, and is tied into God's gracious call. ~~+~~

Kathie Chiu said...

Those of us born here tend to take our Country for granted. Thank you for the reminder of what it means to so many who make their way here to start new lives. God is good!

Peter Black said...

Thanks Kathie.
Yes, indeed!
May
"God keep our land,
Glorious [in grace] and free
in the liberty wherein Christ makes us free] . . ." ~~+~~

Donna Mann said...

And Canada is a better place because of you and yours. May you have many years to sing, "God keep our land, glorious and free."

Glynis said...

Made me smile and nod! We came from Scotland (where we had been dwelling for 5 years) in 1967 and when our ship docked in Montreal I remember (as an 11 year old grinning British schoolgirl) thinking that Canada has some of the strangest houses - it was Expo 67 and we were nearby the incredibly odd but marvellous pavilions.

Your words ring true. And yes, how blessed we are to have been adopted, too, and are now family! And if I was brave enough I, too, would get a 'made in England' tattoo! However, I think I will just settle for a teeshirt. Lovely, 'RAISE YOUR GAZE' post. Thanks, Peter.

Glynis said...

Made me smile and nod! We came from Scotland (where we had been dwelling for 5 years) in 1967 and when our ship docked in Montreal I remember (as an 11 year old grinning British schoolgirl) thinking that Canada has some of the strangest houses - it was Expo 67 and we were nearby the incredibly odd but marvellous pavilions.

Your words ring true. And yes, how blessed we are to have been adopted, too, and are now family! And if I was brave enough I, too, would get a 'made in England' tattoo! However, I think I will just settle for a teeshirt. Lovely, 'RAISE YOUR GAZE' post. Thanks, Peter.

Glynis said...

Oh, and happy blessed 40th anniversary to you and May! How precious that the Snowbirds planned their flight on your special weekend!~

Janet Sketchley said...

Peter, I'm glad that you and May and your sons made Canada your home. We're the richer for it. And well done, arranging for the Snowbirds fly-past!

Carolyn Arends said...

Let me add my voice to the "Happy Anniversary" chorus ... and to the round of thanks for reminding us how blessed we are to live upon Canadian soil. Thanks, Peter!

Susan Harris said...

I echo your thoughts about Canada as an immigrant now citizen myself. Hope it's okay to add Happy Anniversary this late too.

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