Tuesday, December 20th, 2016...3:35 pm
Having Hope for 2017
As 2016 begins to draw to a close, I’ve been seeing more and more articles pop up all over social media about what a terrible year 2016 was, and how people who think 2016 was a good year are just plain silly. And it’s true, some pretty awful things have happened throughout the world this year, and no one benefits from ignoring the stories of others, but neither do we benefit from focusing only on the bad, and forgetting that there are stories of perseverance, of rising against the odds, of hope, of kindness, and yes, of love.
Given that the holiday for giving and for being a little nicer to each other is almost upon us, I thought we should end this year’s blog posts with a little reminder of the stories of hope that we’ve heard, and of the ways that you can go into 2017 with the idea of making the world a little bit better than it has been. After all, negative stories are only outweighed by positive actions. Here are some.
Story #1: I sat down with an incredible woman at the Human Library a few weeks ago, and she is literally turning painful memories into empowering stories. For people who have dealt with a trauma in their childhood, it can be hard to embrace the memory in a way that lets a person heal, move forward, and be confident about their identity. The woman I met listens to these peoples’ narratives and designs a piece of jewellery especially for them; a piece that tells their story from the lens of someone who sees the work that goes into healing and transforming, and gives these people a way to celebrate moving on from the past. A lesson we could all remember moving into 2017.
Action #1: There are too many murdered and missing Indigenous women in Canada, but there are just as many people who are taking action to stop this number from rising. One of them is Brad Firth, aka Caribou Legs. This year, he ran across Canada in order to raise awareness for missing and murdered Indigenous women, and he has done it all without an entourage or support system. He is incredible, and we can only hope that his actions in 2016 inspire others (including ourselves) to take action for what we know is right in 2017. Read more here.
Story #2: A 6-year-old boy in the U.S. wrote a letter to President Obama saying that he would give a Syrian child a family. I love this for so many reasons. First, it shows that this child understands what’s important, and that his kindness knows no bounds. Second, it reveals a lot about his parents and the way they’re raising him. I once heard that the world changes by good people doing good things, one small thing at a time. If ever there were an example of that, this is it. Read more here.
Action #2: This action I saw just the other day when I was leaving a restaurant in downtown Toronto. I looked across the street, running to get inside because it felt like -14, and I saw a woman with a HUGE backpack on, the side pocket rigged to hold dozens of takeout cups. Then I realized what she was doing. She had thermoses of hot drinks in her backpack, and was walking around downtown to meet, chat with, and share a warm drink with people who don’t have homes. I don’t know this woman, and I didn’t find out her name, but it’s the small actions like this that remind me the world isn’t all bad, and that it could get better if we all took a leaf out of her book.
I could list a dozen other stories and actions that highlight the way people have cared, have shared, and have hoped for better over the past year; we want to leave you, however, with the simple idea that even though things have been bad, and that negative things will continue to happen, we don’t have to accept it as the norm. Our actions, our choices, can help balance out the negative that we know is happening; but it is a choice. We can either choose to accept that 2017 will be more of the same negative narrative, or we can choose to do good things in spite of that; I hope we choose the latter.
Wishing everyone a warm, and hopeful, holiday season with many positive narratives