I want to write something uplifting and deeply satisfying here as I look back at 2013 but i can’t. I want to praise the progress I’ve made and shout a joyful YOP with my fellow citizens about how we are well on our way to making our city. country, and the world a better place. But I can’t .
Every year between Christmas and New Years I write down the 100 hundred things I believe in. It’s never an easy exercise but it is worthwhile. I carefully revisit each item on the previous years list and revise when needed and strengthen when what ever I leave. This year though it has been particularly hard. One of the things I wrote on my list was year, as I do every year, is that I have failed. Failure is an important thing for me as it gives me a place to consider from where to improve. But this year that failure has taken on a deeper meaning.
In the car on the way to visit family over the holidays my wife and I were talking about the issues we face locally, nationally, globally and I felt myself become more and more angry. My wife asked “ why are you so angry? What’s the matter?” and I quickly felt myself on the verge of tears. I was emotional because ,as i said to my Wife, that “ we could chose, right now, with the resources we have, to end hunger, to end poverty, to make Peoples lives more fulfilling, to never leave anyone behind again and the only reason we haven’t because we have chosen not to.”
We have chosen not to. And there in five small words is the reason for the environmental, health, education, and economic miseries we continue to visit on one another and continue to not do anything about. We chose not too. Your neighbours, your coworkers, your friends, your fellow citizens, our international brothers and sisters, your family, and I chose not to. I Chose not to.
There is a great, great saying in latin “ Mia Culpa, Mia Culpa, Mia Maxima Cupla” . Through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault. This is what Catholics would say as part of the Confiteor where the faithful would confess their sins. There were two forms of this, the Ordinary and the Extraordinary. I Quote here the extraordinary. I am not Catholic, though I was brought up as one, nor am I a member of any faith. I am not a believer in God nor in any form of spiritualism but for me this phrase is rang or me as I wrote my list.. Through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault.
It is my faulty that I am not a better father, a better husband, a better son. a better friend, a better neighbour, a better citizen, a better human. It is my fault that I don’t work harder to make a better neighbourhood, a better city, a better country, a better world. It is my fault that I am tempted by things that ultimately have no meaning or worth. It is my fault that I am never strong enough, or smart enough, or eloquent enough to make where I live a better place for those around me.
It is a part of my fault that the 465 generous workers of Kellogg’s were laid off. it is a part of my fault that the 455 workers of Electro Motive Diesel lost their jobs more than a year ago. It is a part of my fault that wages are so low and work is precarious. It is a part of my faulty that trees are being cleared and that waters are being polluted and that we are losing more and more of our planets beauty. it a part of my fault that there are children working in horrible conditions in other countries, that women are degraded, that my fellow human beings are sold into suffering. It is a part of my faulty that wars happen and that our indigenous Peoples are left to a life of hopelessness and woe. I own all or some or a part of each of these faults.
Why? Well what are the products I buy? What are the prices I expect to pay? Where is my patience in listening to others? When I have decided to do something easy when I didn’t want to put in the effort? This list goes on and on.
I am very fortunate, very blessed, very grateful for the bounty in my life. I have friends of such depth and passion that they continually lift me everyday. I have family that is deeply loving and giving. I have work that is satisfying and rewarding. I have a home to share with my wife and daughter. I have an abundance of food and shelter, of family and friends, of community and neighbours,. I have a wealth of love and caring; and perhaps this is why am becoming more and more aware of my faults.
I am not asking you, dear friends, to catalogue the worlds pains and suffering with me, I am not asking you to join me on a righteous crusade, I am not asking you to protest or picket or chant or anything. I am not asking you for anything. I am only sharing with you my Confiteor in the hopes that in the next year this will spur me to work harder, to be more loving, be more aware, and to try harder to leave the world, my country, my province, my city, my neighbourhood, or my home a better place.