Friday, November 7, 2014

Overpacking and Overthinking

This week I've been riding a wave on anxiety as I prepare for my next trip. I head to India on Sunday...Kolkata actually. I think I'm finally ready to say that I'm excited more than nervous. That's not to say it hasn't been a process.

Today was perfect though. As some of you know, I work event security at our local arena for concerts and conferences, etc. Today, in Saskatchewan, was WE Day. It is part of Craig and Mark Kielburger's Free The Children enterprise in which they inspire and empower kids to become activists in our world. I love the work that these guys do, particularly in that they started as children and have continued to motivate youth to get involved in the issues that stir them. Though I'm far older than their target demographic, I learned a lot about how to connect and motivate kids to get involved in global and local issues that are concerning to all of us. Part of the event involves getting various celebrities to get involved in motivating the kids with their own stories. I didn't know anything about the line up of who would be there today but suddenly, I found myself in close proximity with one of my Canadian heroes, Lt. Gen. (ret) Romeo Dallaire, who led the UN Peacekeeping mission in Rwanda during the genocide during the 90's. It was an impossible mission and many feel that perhaps Daillaire was doomed from the outset...and yet, what he has done with his life since that terrible chapter, has given me such inspiration. He deals with PTSD and yet continues to advocate against child soldiers and other atrocities of war. He's written several incredibly difficult yet integral books on the subjects and he has really shaped a lot of my education around social injustices and human rights abuses. So, today, as he stepped into the spotlight just feet away, although I was working,  I had a steady stream of tears sliding down my cheeks. I wondered how many people in that building actually knew who he was or what he had been through and what's he has overcome. It makes me wonder what we really know of anyone's particular story, celebrity or not.

Along with Lt. Gen. Dallaire, Capt. Phillips, shared his story as well. A merchant marine captain made famous by Tom Hanks who played him in the movie about his ordeal as his ship and crew were attacked by Somali pirates and he spent four long days being abused and isolated as a hostage on a life raft with his four captors. His message today was that you are stronger than you know and you can endure more than you can imagine.

In the face of courage like this, what do I have to fear?

I went in to work today thinking it was just another day, customer service and providing directions to visitors to our facilities. In the end, it was a day that I will long remember as one that spoke right to the heart of my fears and put them to rest.

I encourage each of you to check out and visit virtually each of the communities that I will be walking in next week. I ask that as you see the pictures and read the stories, that you would remember our team as we step into those stories.

I'm excited. Fear abates. Curiosity and calling win out.

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