I was born in 1974
I grew up in a smallish town snuggled against the North Shore Mountains
I was loved, clothed and warm
My biggest fears were my sisters tickling me until I peed, the monster I was sure was living under my bed and in the basement, and having to eat brussells sprouts (to which I still do not like to this day no matter how much bacon you put on them!!)
We were "poor" for the first stage of my childhood... poor in that we ate a lot of ground beef and cheap meals that my mom made gourmet somehow, poor in that she made our clothes from curtain samples my dad brought home from work... and I had NO idea we were poor! over the years we would go back and forth from doing well to having the lights cut out, but that's not what this is about
I grew up in church
a LOT of church
In fact I had so many "aunties" and "uncles" that I knew just who to sit with Sunday mornings and the candy and hugs were free flowing :)
One of my earliest memories of this church family was that the church owned the property next door and would house different people as needed in the house there ... I remember the "Boat People" mostly as the way the house smelled.. it had a different smell then I remember smelling before and so that is ingrained in my memory... they smiled at me and fed me some soup and probably endured hours of me pestering them for something!! I was NOT afraid to ask people for stuff.. ok mostly candy, I asked for candy a lot!! :)
I don't remember how long they lived in the house next door... I know that our church sponsored them coming over from war torn Vietnam .. but I don't know how many there were or for how long they lived there before the next family moved in to the church house. I don't remember the church converting them or making them pay anything back. I don't remember much but that they were kind to me.
I was raised to give.
We often would have people who were in need of a place to stay for short term come and live with us ... we would be rearranged and clothing and extras that we had would be given to them ... freely given... this was our life even when we were poor and my parents had 4 mortgages on our house and my dad worked insane hours just trying to make the payments!! they gave, they showed us to give .. and so we all gave.
Today my parents own a restaurant, our executive chef is from Vietnam .. he was sponsored to move to Calgary when he was 19 by a family in a church ... he is now 56 years old. He is part owner in the restaurant .. I have never seen anyone work so hard in a kitchen in my life! he is kind, gentle, a hard worker, a father and he leads the worship team at his church... he is a giver!
It is better to give then to receive ... this is a principal that my parents have lived by and taught us to walk out in our lives
I don't know when the church lost it's power.. I say the word power as I am not sure what a better word would be? when I grew up in church the church gave... we put on free dinners and had an open door policy .. sure there was crap going on and hypocrisy, there always has been and sadly probably always will be ... but they gave ... they filled needs .. they used the networks they had and they filled needs, at least the church I grew up in did.
I am not sure when the government got so big? I am not sure when they started dictating more and more of what we could do and could not do? I am not sure why we started relying on the government over the church?, over God? I am leery of government that would choose to close down a facility such as riverview, send those people mostly to the streets and have the facility just sit there rotting? I don't get it! I don't get how we have a homeless problem in a first world nation? yes I get drugs and choices and blah blah blah ... but I don't get why there are not more shelters, more help, more compassion?
Today the world is a different place then 1974. I get that. We never had cell phones or the Internet and social media playing the horrors of the world 24/7 ... we had 3 or 4 channels and 1 TV in the home where we watched everything together as a family and actually had to get up off the couch and go to the tv itself to change the channels. I actually remember just laying right in front of the tv to watch it so I wouldn't have to keep getting up off the couch! My parents never hid the news from us either ... we all watched the 6:00 o'clock news together ... with Jim Parsons :) .... they talked to us about world events and we learned to see the world through their eyes and their filter.
As long as I can remember there has been conflict in the middle East .... it really wasn't until 911 that I remember fear of war being a possibility on our Continent, in our backyard. Until then it was just something that happened "over there" "somewhere else" .... it is definitely a scarier world today for us Westerners.
I am scared about what is happening. It worries me that there is a feeling of being vulnerable... although I still don't want to go out and buy a gun!! I am pretty Canadian there!
I have had the thoughts "how many terrorists are hiding in the refugees?" "how many terrorists might come to our Country?" .... and I think these are legit fears and thoughts to have!
I wonder how many people in the 1970's were worried about that with the "Boat People" coming over? and I remember that our Country imprisoned Canadian Japanese people when Pearl Harbour happened!! fear is a funny thing.
Then I wonder what it was like when my ancestors fled the Ukraine? they were Jews but never said a word, in fact we didn't learn until not that long ago of our Jewish heritage ... names were changed and family histories erased (like literally our family tree cannot be traced back past a certain year which I cannot remember at the moment, it's like they just ceased to exist)... I wonder how many people that were already here in North America were worried they would be Nazi's?
I look back over the years at the different wars and how groups of people have fled and have been displaced as their very lives depended on it ... how North America was really built .. on the backs of immigrants and yes at the cost of the Native People but that's a whole other Pandora's box I am not going to address here...
so how do we open our hearts and our hands and yes our pocketbooks to help those who are now fleeing for their very lives? how do we sort the good from the bad? how do we give when so many of us feel so burdened by our lives and our lifestyles? hey I am on maternity leave the bank is not so big right now .. but then I am actually getting PAID by our government, yes I paid into it, to stay home with my baby ... how can I say I am poor compared to them who would rather be homeless and live on the streets then stay in their war torn country?
How do we show mercy and love?
I am sure their children's fears are much scarier then being tickled until they pee, or eating brussels sprouts and the monsters under their beds are very very real!
Just some of my thoughts rolling around my head right now.