A beautiful conversation followed by terribly sad news

Today started off with a funny feeling. I felt off. When I went to do my morning push-ups regimen, I was weaker than normal. Something wasn’t right. I got into Mac very well dressed with a neatly pressed polo and fine woolen black slacks, ready for an important meeting. However, when I checked my messages, I realised that the big meeting I had prepared myself for had happened yesterday! There had been a scheduling error. How annoying. A bad start to the day.

Things brightened considerably after that. I had a wonderful lunch with McMaster communications alumna Emily Morrice and her husband Brad Morrice. What a wonderful thing to see my former student doing so well. Confident, successful and happy. It was a pleasure to speak with them. They work in Christian mission in Montréal, which is a challenging and exciting thing to do given the general apostasy yet feeling of seeking meaning that characerises the lives of many French Canadians. We had a very wide-ranging and stimulating discussion on topics are varied as “how do you talk about love and sin in contemporary life” to how can one have personally liberal and progressive views and still lead a life guided strongly in a set of non-relativistic, loving principles. It was exciting to chat with them and learn of their ministry. They are doing good in the world. They are doing it gently. And that’s beautiful.

After that I got some terrible news. Another of my former students and a good friend suffered a terrible tragedy as his wife gave birth to a stillborn child and she herself was now in critical condition. Life can seem so terribly cruel. A young couple, awaiting their first child – so full of joy and expectation, of the possibility of bringing new life and new love into the world – is brought down by accident. Life is so fragile. My prayers and my thoughts have been with them all day.

We all live steps away from death or injury or disability. We don’t know the amount of time that we have to live and love. I think that is why it is so crucial to lead a good life, a loving life, a life that makes a contribution every day to a better world. Some days that contribution could be creative – a poem, a painting, a new way of solving an engineering or financial problem, whatever. Another day that contribution can be to bring joy or peace to another. On yet another day, your contribution could be to help right a wrong, to stubbornly stick to a higher principle that you believe in, or simply to be an example of upright, reliable and decent behaviour to others.

Today, at lunch I spoke with people who have given their lives to spreading love and faith and order. In the evening I heard of others before whom life had thrown a terrible challenge.

I challenge you, my friends, to make your days count. I challenge you, as I challenge myself – to make each every day a contribution, an offering. You will step more lightly and you will sleep better. When you are not there, others will remember you and sing your name with admiration and gratitude. Each of your contributions to the good, no matter how small, is a step on your road to freedom.

Live a principled life, a good life, and you will have no regrets.

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One Reply to “A beautiful conversation followed by terribly sad news”

  1. A very thought-provoking perspective, Alex. Like so many others, I’m overwhelmed by the heartbreaking news from Toronto. May they find some solace in the knowledge that so many of us who have come to respect and admire them are now grieving for their loss.

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