Yes, I will celebrate, but with that pull of sadness that reminds me I’m not home yet. It’s a pull that tugs hard when I hear about the mass graves being discovered, the wars raging in too many countries, the injustices filtering the mercy so needed in our courts, the death count rising after a disaster directly resulting from greed.
It’s a pull I felt when a neighbour saw me as only a means to satisfy his sexual urges, and again when a teacher saw me only as a vulnerable child she could manipulate. I felt it when I was the victim of bullies and misunderstood by those who just didn’t take the time to listen.
We all feel it, here on this fallen earth. And the sadness and anger run deep.
But we must celebrate. We must remember those stories of bravery and glorious humanity in the midst of war and chaos. We must cherish the smiles of those who took the hands of all the children whose innocence saves us from insanity. We must praise those who take responsibility, who stand up and say, “I’m sorry. Forgive me.”
Because there is still goodness in this world. There is a thread of a Spirit that won’t let go of us, no matter how heinous the crimes and depraved the imaginations. That Spirit stands with us in the midst of the flames and destruction and the pain they cause and opens a way for healing. He gives us people, and sometimes whole countries, that still strive to choose what is right over what is expedient.
And that makes me want to wave a flag and sing an anthem that still mentions God with a note of thanksgiving.
Yes, I will celebrate Canada Day, though her history makes me weep, because I also feel the pull of her goodness and beauty that reveals the One who still stands with her and cries out, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28, NIV). Give ear and come to me; listen, that you may live” (Isaiah 55:3, NIV).
I will celebrate because to deny that goodness allows all that is evil to take another step forward in victory. And we must not allow that to happen.