The film is, on the surface, about a botched space mission that leaves Matt Damon stranded on Mars. It's also a film for anyone who's found themselves thousands of miles away from the life they'd planned. If you've lost a child, lost a spouse, survived a crime, been disabled, been diagnosed with a critical illness, you likely have had moments when you feel alone on a strange planet with no guarantee of making it back home.
Amidst the carnage of a failed marriage, as your days become consumed with prying the broken shards of glass from the wounds of a shattered life, it is hard to conceive that anyone will ever be worth the risk of going through all of this again. But a life without love is incomplete -- Love is always worth it.
My children and I immigrated to Canada in 2010 as refugees. When we arrived, I was so happy that my kids were in a safe country. In Zimbabwe I remember not being able to cry or find comfort in anyone, because everyone was experiencing their own share of pain and shock. So in April of 2010, after being released from the most recent lock-up, I took my kids at midnight and headed for the border knowing that if I was caught I would be burned alive and killed. Even though I was living with the uncertainty of how my immigration hearing would pan out, watching my kids embrace Canadian culture strengthened me when I was at my weakest point.
Why can't we seek a world where we rise to the occasion and confront our failings as a society? Why can't we demand better of ourselves and of our communities to create a place where all life is respected? Why can't the ingenuity of the human brain -- and limitlessness of the human heart -- foster a world where hope triumphs over hopelessness?
As a 26-year-old business professional I face very typical problems on a day to day basis, ones that many of you may face. I have to deal with traffic, I have to find parking in downtown Toronto, I have to deal with deadlines. But it wasn't that long ago that any of these trivial issues were not a concern to me as my only burden was finding my next meal. For two years I battled homelessness and my hope was dependant on youth homes and the kindness of strangers.
Parents often think that they have to have an immediate answer or solution at their fingertips, but sometimes all a kid needs is to be heard. When we listen to young people without interrupting, it helps them feel understood and it validates their feelings by making them feel less alone in whatever they may be coping with.
In the world of environmental advocacy, hope can be a scarce commodity. The daily cascade of negative reports about our planet's health can challenge even the most optimistic personality. That's why 24 Hours of Reality, a global event happening today and tomorrow (September 16-17), promises to be so refreshing: it's all about solutions and hope.
The "Uh-oh! Moment" marks a realization, a grasp of a situation marked by despair and anguish. But it's within that grasp that most of the time, you start climbing out of the abyss. Once you're questioning what you have done, you start answering. And once you start answering, you start moving in a new, upward direction.
Over the course of a long baseball season, unforeseeable and unimaginable things happen on a regular basis and what purported experts deem to be inevitable isn't always inevitable. So-called 'sure things' stumble with surprising regularity and even those universally considered to be without hope can rightfully harbour hope.
Where were you on November 22, 1963? For some of you this may be before you time, but for me, I was a 12-year-old living in Edinburgh, Scotland and it is a day I will never forget. And for those of you who have no recall of what happened 50 years ago, it was the day that John F. Kennedy was shot and assassinated.
Barry and I were both 17 when we met. We had just finished high school. I was dealing with my tragedy -- the death of my mother and two younger sisters. Barry was an orphan, responsible for his older brother with special needs. And there we stood, in the "Land of Oz" at the start of the "Yellow Brick Road" -- the beginning of our journey together.