Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Isn't it a wonderful world...

Piccsy :: Map of the World Map from Old Sheet Music, Art Print on EtsyA few years ago, when my daughters were still playing soccer, Suzanna played against a team from the most ethnically diverse part of our city. My neighbour's brother, who has spent a lot of time in India and Asia, was standing next to me when I commented on the fact that every player but one on the opposing team had black hair. He turned to me and said, "Won't it be a wonderful world when people no longer notice things like that?"

This past weekend was the American Football Superbowl, when the two top teams played for the championship trophy, and advertisers pulled out all the stops to make commercials for their products that people will remember. A certain cola company's ad (click here to see it) has received a lot of negative attention because it took a national hymn and, while lines of the song were translated and being sung in the languages of different nationalities, it showed gorgeous images of people of those nationalities participating in life in the United States.

One of the really beautiful things in our world is the diversity of its people. Our different cultures, languages, beliefs and traditions give the world such richness and beauty. For a long time, my part of North America was pretty homogeneous, but in the last twenty years, things have really shifted, and now it's unusual to go through a day without the sound of a different language or accent in my ears, spoken by someone with skin colour different than mine. Coming from a bilingual country that is becoming more multilingual by the day, I think the sights and sounds our immigrants bring from their lands of origin are exciting, appealing, and expanding the hearts and minds of long-time Canadians, most of whose families originated in other lands, too. The fact that these more recent immigrants have been brave enough to join us in the Canadian multicultural mosaic, to learn yet another language and live in a different and much colder land, this time of year(!) fills me with admiration and appreciation for their resourcefulness and resilience.

We are all brothers and sisters, and isn't it a wonderful world when we can sing the same song together, even if our languages are different?!

The belief in the inner beauty of each and every human being is at the heart of L'Arche, at the heart of all true education and at the heart of being human. As soon as we start selecting and judging people instead of welcoming them as they are -- with their sometimes hidden beauty, as well as their more frequently visible weaknesses -- we are reducing life, not fostering it. When we reveal to people our belief in them, their hidden beauty rises to the surface where it may be more clearly seen by all.
--Jean Vanier, Becoming Human, p.23. 

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