My cousin, Kelly, is a veteran who has barely survived her time with the Canadian Armed Forces. Through her job as a counsellor of soldiers who endured horrific moments in places like Afghanistan, Kelly heard every horrible story and tried her best to help heal every wounded man and woman. As a result, Kelly (who has always had the biggest heart of anyone I know) now fights her own terrible battle with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
She is my hero, she is. A woman of incredible intelligence and empathy. No one loves more than her. No one hurts more than her.
Yesterday she posted this on Facebook, to mark Remembrance Day. It moved me so much I wanted to share it with you here:
On this day I remember my courageous and brilliant clients and colleagues, the scarred yet resilient people who came in and out my door and made me a little wiser, I hope, a little kinder, I hope, who each helped open my eyes to the reality of what passes for serving one's country to those who have never experienced it. It is called elsewhere the "lie of war", it is a terrible lie that keeps getting told and keeps getting believed by those who have so little to give but have such big hearts they will give all anyway because they believe they can make a difference.
So long as the war machine keeps getting fed by those who have no real knowledge of what it means to put all of one's self on the line, then there will be no difference except maybe to the person next to the person in that trench or hole in the wall who feels a little less terrified, a little less desperate because they are not alone.
On this day I remember there are all kinds of war being fought here at home and overseas. There is a war against women, there is a war against those who have nothing and there are countless wars not at home. There are horrific crimes committed against men and women and children everyday, why do we not each try and make our own part of the world a little less warlike, a little less hostile.
Instead of bristling against diversity and striking first, consider being curious about those differences, consider that hidden in that diversity you might find something in common. Consider the unexpected and embrace it. When people celebrate the strengths in each other rather than rally against the differences, we make our world a world fuelled not by war but by peace.