Reflection / Service

Coldest Night of the Year

On Saturday, I worked the registration table for the the Coldest Night of the Year Walk in Edmonton. There were about 300 walkers, I believe. Registering people was easy… It involved making sure a waiver form was filled out, checking the pledge sheet to insure that cash & cheques brought in matched that, and simply asking about online pledges. Everyone participating got a toque and after the opening ceremonies, the group of people cleared out to either take part in the 5 or 10 km walk. This took place at Hope Mission in Edmonton as the starting and end point, while the walk went throughout downtown. Typically February is a lot colder here, but we have been seeing lovely temperatures for much of this month. The idea of the walk to is to gain even a fraction of understanding of what our homeless have to experience in the dark, cold winters of our Canadian climate, and then of course to raise funds and awareness for various organizations who help the homeless in some way. The job was easy enough and after registering the walkers, I stayed to help count and balance the pledges that had been submitted by cash and cheque.

I ran into a girl from work, who does her job on a flexible schedule, much like I do. It just happened that we both were there volunteering for the same job, as we hadn’t communicated about it before hand. That was a neat coincidence. I also had the opportunity to chat with an older woman sitting beside me, who brought up many topics of conversation, including my lip piercing and because I had mentioned my children, home schooling also came up. I tend to look younger than I am, so I think when most people hear that I have children, they expect them to be much younger than 9 and 12. Most people upon learning that someone they are talking to has children, tend to then ask about sex and age. It was however very curious to me that she asked me if I was going to try for a boy. I told her I felt that that would be far too big of an age gap for my children, but honestly I’m really not sure why the importance on having a male child in this year and this society that we live in here.

Anyway, I hadn’t realized that Hope Mission is a Christian organization when I volunteered for this event. Not that this would necessarily prevent me from volunteering, but there was a comment made, “look at all these good Christian people here to help.” I’m not Christian. Yet there I was helping. I don’t identify with any religion. I am simply a human being who thinks we need to do our part to help other human beings who may not have been dealt the same sort of fortunate hand that we have. I don’t need religion or a belief in higher power to motivate me to help others in whatever way I can. I don’t help because I have faith or that’s what “good Christians” do. I help because I have learned through living life, that I want to exist in a certain kind of world.

In the aftermath of the Sandy Hook school shooting, a couple of people on Facebook posted this quote by Fred Rogers:

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”

It’s a quote that made me burst into tears as I felt deep sorrow for those children and their families and the fragility of each human life. But as I thought about it, knowing that world will never be all good, I realized that there will always be some good.

And that’s what I want to be a part of.

And so I help.


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