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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.
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.
ultimate citizenship is in heaven (Philippians
Peter’s new book, “Raise Your Gaze . . . Musings of a Grateful
Heart,” is due for release in Fall, 2014.
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.