Well, this has been a truly amazing summer on the road for my family! Living and working in Houston makes connection with our precious family very difficult and, for reasons beyond our control, we were forced to impose upon several close family members this summer for lodging and accommodations.
I am always amazed when circumstances transform into blessings beyond our wildest dreams.
From beaches, pirate ships, war memorials and splash pads to Snowbird aerobatic stunts, Fire Hall tours and Canada's Wonderland. We were terrified by CF-18 Hornets in afterburner and the Leviathan, Canada's highest rollercoaster.
All in a day of play with family we rarely see and dearly miss from our home base in Houston.
Things started to get very exciting when we were led to a surprise seating behind Royalty, His Royal Highness Prince Charles and Her Highness Duchess of Cornwall at the Canada Day celebration in Ottawa. Followed by the incredible announcement of 2 new Canadian Astronauts by one of my favorite singers, Shania Twain. And topped off with an honorable mention by our Prime Minister addressing my inspiring husband, Jeremy Hansen, during his powerful speech from the Hill.
All seemed a little surreal.
And it made me think about what is "special"? What makes a person "special" or more important than another person?
I've come to realize, nothing. We ALL have the capacity to be special.
I’ve often considered that, in my belief system, we have no control over the family we are born into. Any one of us could, just as easily, have been born into a Syrian family immersed in a conflict zone as into the British Royal Family. During Canada Day celebrations on Parliament Hill, Syrian refugees, many children who were disabled by the crimes they were exposed to in their country were seated, literally, next to the British Royal Family.
The contrast was awe-inspiring, thought-provoking and beautiful.
It was, in retrospect, the most natural thing imaginable. It is the Canadian way. I was proud to be part of something that spoke so clearly about the values we hold as Canadians and as people sensitive to the plight of others. We are all human and it is our human-ness that makes us equal.
But being human and starting as "equals" does not mean we all end up that way. On our road trip, I have seen many examples of people who acknowledge and empathize with fellow humans as if they were family. But I have also witnessed others, overflowing with ego, who can’t see beyond the large chip on their shoulder.
Jealously, anger and a hunger for power create a sense of separateness, lack and fear that divides us as humans. This separation creates an “us” and “them” mentality that absolves us of wrong-doing and eases our conscience when we treat others poorly. If “they” are not “us” then it is okay to treat them differently than we expect to be treated.
Now spend a few moments imagining your life if you had been born someone else. Someone living in poverty or with a disfiguring disability, exposed to hatred and deprived of love.
When your time on this Earth has passed, no one really knows what is next. What we know, for sure, is that this life can be used to right the wrongs, elevate the meek, raise the bar on egalitarianism and ensure that you are doing YOUR part to generate equality.
We, as a circle of highly conscious women and men, are charged with creating a world in which every single human being, regardless of race, religion, physical appearance, capability, gender or family of origin is afforded the same opportunities and chance for health and happiness.
As we settle into the slower, less globally connected part of our family vacation I'm feeling an overwhelming peace with the main message that, I hope, has been affirmed, integrated and cemented for my children on our family’s road trip:
"No matter where we go or who we meet we live in a world that needs more ordinary people, like us, who derive their 'special-ness' from how widely and whole-heartedly they disseminate love and acceptance."