THE BLOG

Creating Triumph in a Tragic World

05/29/2013 12:18 EDT | Updated 07/29/2013 05:12 EDT
Getty Images
Hand holding up globe, all graphics elements are my own design/photo.

It is a sobering realization that not a day passes when we are not assaulted with tragic events that happen in the world. Some are natural and cannot be avoided, like earthquakes or floods. Others are the aftermath of decisions made by people who seem to think differently from the rest of us. Let's face it: most people are genuine, kind, and gentle with good intentions. That is the backbone of our society and the backbone of this beautiful country we live in. Good people contribute to society, they pay taxes, they volunteer, they help those who are vulnerable. I am happy to think that I fall into the category of people who want to help each other and support our loved ones, our families, friends, communities and people we don't even know throughout our community, our country and the world. We understand that life doesn't always seem fair and we do what we can to help make life a bit easier and better for those who need it. We wouldn't dream of hurting a soul.

The harsh reality is that devastating things are happening. Recent events like the Boston Marathon bombing, the murder of Tim Bosma as he tried to sell his truck in Ancaster, and the killing of a 9 year old boy, Kesean Williams in Brampton. In Kesean's case, he sat watching TV in his living room as a bullet tore through the window and struck him in the head. That was January 23, 2013, and there are still no leads on who fired the deadly shot. His mourning mother has no answers, just a hole in her heart. Imagine how she must feel. My heart breaks for her. Then there's the kidnapping and violation of 3 young women for 10 years. You have to ask, how can that happen in the same neighbourhood where they went missing? Innocent, precious school children are killed and people going to the movies face open gunfire. What is the world coming to?

These events are far too frequent and they make me FURIOUS, as I am sure they do you. Every time something like this happens it chips away at our strength as a society. Are we becoming less trusting of strangers? Should we be? My 13-year old son asks me about some of the news items he has heard about on the radio as I drive him to school in the mornings. He wonders why these terrible things happen. It is so far removed from our bubble where we feel and seem to be perfectly safe. I suppose these other families who suffered tragic events at the hands corrupt people may have also felt that same sense of security in their homes and communities. Why do they seem to think they have so much power over the rest of us? Do they really think they will get away with it? How do we "arm" ourselves with strength to continue to be God-fearing, well-adjusted members of society? It's easy to feel defeated or deflated when we hear the words of the widows, the grieving mothers, family members suffering such huge loss. My only explanation to my son was "those people who commit terrible crimes like that are either crazy or pure evil."

If you look at other countries and the hardships they endure for day to day living, it takes it to a whole new level. Let's take Mozambique as one example. Here is a country where nearly 20 million people live in what the UN calls 'extreme poverty.' It is tragic to know that as many as 490 women die for every 100,000 live births because less than 50 per cent of women have any trained medical help present when they give birth. Mozambique has only 2.7 Doctors per 100,000 people (according to World Health Organization estimates). In comparison, Canada has nearly 100 times that many. For many women, going into labour in Mozambique means it is time to start the long walk to where medical help may be. That walk might be more than 30 kilometers away. Many don't make it and for many the journey proves fatal. The health care standards are abhorrent by our standards. This is another tragedy for our God fearing, kind, gentle sisters around the world.

If there is a silver lining, which I often search for, it is this: I choose to continue to love people throughout the world. I choose to lend my support for those who are vulnerable like the women of Mozambique. I choose to do so through the carefully structured NGO's that are doing good and honest work to help improve health care for women and babies and others who are vulnerable. One way I am helping is by supporting a simple program that has been put into place where bicycle ambulances have started to arrive in Mozambique through organizations like World Vision. In the communities that have received the bicycle ambulances so far, maternal mortality rates have dropped by 15%! There are things that we can do in the face of tragedy and chaos to create little spaces of triumph. And that is one victory for the good guys...