Always a swerve towards something better.
One of my dear friends gave me a book to read recently. One of the premises of the book is that we are all connected, literally and figuratively, through a series of recycled particles. And the events of life are caused by these particles as they fall figuratively from space to the ground. Not all particles fall linearly. They swerve and collide with others. They cause an impact on others essentially creating the uniqueness of life. The strange thing is this: that premise is well over 2000 years old.
I was sitting in my family room with my kids watching the news about the Thai soccer team trapped in a cave for over two weeks. I felt we were somehow connected to them. I think we all felt it. We all waited in anticipation of some good news. We hoped for the best, feared the worst. We held our breath with them, hurt with them and hoped with them. We swerve with them. Their particles touched us and caused a swerve, a big one.
While holding our breath with the people of Thailand, my heart sank when seeing the pictures of Port au Prince. A hike in the price of diesel, a swerve, caused people to take to the streets. Haiti can be a political powder keg, the instability is palpable during the best of times, so a sudden increase in diesel, translating to electricity, goods and services, caused an already unstable situation to explode. Burning of cars, tires and random gunfire. Violence against police, property and each other, the streets of Port au Prince exploded to look again like a war zone.
I took calls and texts from friends and colleagues on the ground in Port au Prince. Some were locked down in the hospital, others were locked down in their homes. One was separated from her daughter on the other side of the city. Amongst the people trapped at the hospital was one of my friends performing surgery on a young girl with a tumor in her arm. A team of professionals, including Broken Earth volunteers from across Canada, were consulted on this case. She pulled through and had her arm saved. Despite the chaos outside, she will live a long and productive life. A good news moment during a dire situation.
You got to look for those moments. It’s so easy to get lost in the negative. But I truly believe there’s a balance at work in the universe. Whose heart didn’t break at the news of those boys in the Humboldt Broncos who lost their lives so tragically, so young? Maybe that’s what made the rescue of the boys trapped in the Thailand cave that much more necessary. That we may look into the abyss and say, “not again, not these kids too, no way.”
What an amazing effort getting those boys out. A truly global operation. Sadly, with one casualty but a sacrifice that has allowed those young lives to see sunlight once more. I think of that young girl in Haiti and the optimism she must feel despite the turbulent atmosphere surrounding her.
It gave me pause and I told my kids watching both these stories to never forget how lucky we are. As a family. As Canadians. As people who long for those happy endings. That’s not being naïve. It’s believing in the greater good. It’s acknowledging that we are all part of the same collective. We are not trapped in a cave. We are not bound by violence. We have hope. Love. And a responsibility to each other. We all have the power to direct the swerve and change our own trajectory.