I didn't look at the picture for very long. I only saw it by accident, actually, in the morning as I was checking my email before I left the house for a busy day filled with errands and work. I thought the little guy was having a nap on the beach, that's how briefly I looked.
Later in the day, I came to understand what had really happened. I began to sense something was awry when I was at the bank and looked up at the news on TV to see the image of the boy again and Stephen Harper explaining that we needed a stronger military presence. It was noisy in the bank and I didn't hear everything that was said. I just remember looking from the news on the TV over at my two little boys who were gobbling up their salty popcorn treats, sitting on their chairs waiting patiently for me to finish my banking. It was later when I got home, that I would learn the details of how someone else's little boy on the other side of the world came to be on that beach, not napping after all.
Details came out describing the attempts of Canadian relatives to bring the little boy and his immediate and extended family to this country. Depending on what you read in the news, those attempts were either deemed insufficient, incomplete or not received at all by Citizenship and Immigration. Or perhaps, like attempts by many other refugees, they were thwarted by a tedious and stingy bureaucracy acting out of alignment with the immigration goals set by the very same Prime Minister who called for further military action instead of keeping his promise to open Canada's doors to those displaced by the ravages of war. As I read these details, I could feel myself shutting down again the same way I did when those impossibly small grade one students were shot to death in their classroom at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown. The inhumanity of it all left me feeling hollow and numb.
Sometimes, it's hard to think things will ever get better than this.
But if that were true then what is the point? What in the world are we doing here if not, as I've said many times before, to work together to move our collective human story forward?
I'm not religious. I don't believe there's a God in the sky acting as a father figure blessing some while disparaging others. I defer to science for the most part. But I also hold a space in my heart for the possibility of things not yet proven. And in this way, I believe there is something that exists which is greater than us all - the connection that binds us as one human family. I believe in the love we feel for one another that cannot be quantified or measured but which lives and breathes inexplicably through us all in moments of great empathy for those we've never even met. It is profound and mystical. To me, it has no name yet it brings me indescribable comfort and peace. It leaves me feeling humbled and in awe that I get to be a part of something so magnificent. It makes me feel hopeful that we can recalibrate and set our course anew, through these choppy waters and into clear sailing.
It is my hope that we allow this powerful connection we have to one another, here and abroad, to inform our voting choices as we head toward the federal election next month. It is my hope that we reset our compass and reconsider how we want to exist in this life, both as Canadians and as citizens of the world.
That little boy wasn't napping.
It is my sincere hope that the rest of us wake up.
The Happiness Detective