Change is coming—and that gives hope

Change is coming. I can feel it out there, somewhere, where decency and trust and safety exist, where honour is power and integrity our weapon, where the voice of the masses speaks for the disenfranchised, the broken, the injured, and the forgotten.
At least I hope change is coming.
Hope. There’s that word again—that elusive verb that can be slippery and difficult to hold on to. That when we lose sight of it, can’t feel its warm breath on our skin, we get chilly and sluggish and silent.
I wonder if hope may very well be the foundation of change; hope that keeps us from lulling into a deep sleep of complacency.
We know in our very souls when something is wrong, when society collectively turns away from the atrocities that rage around the world, when the gap between faith and religion widens to a veritable chasm. We know. Then some brave soul takes a step forward and he raises his hand, she shouts, “Enough!”
They are the trailblazers; they mark the way and allow many more to come to their senses.
There have been many notable trailblazers, those who receive Pulitzers and Nobel Peace Prizes, and they lift us up with their courage and vision. All of these “winners” are recognized for their efforts of inclusion, of demonstrating the betterment that comes from the heart of democracy, of fairness and equality, of caring for the planet in the best way possible.
They have earned our respect for their vision; for the effort they took to make things right.
Then there are the quiet trailblazers—those who stand their ground without fanfare or applause. Those amongst us who may seem to whisper but they’ve braced their back against the wrongs that swirl around us, set their jaw with unobtrusive determination.
We all know individuals like this, there are examples all around us. I could mention Samantha, a vegan, who made a promise years ago not to participate in and support the slaughter of animals for food and clothing.
Choosing that path set her up for eye-rolling, of lack of convenience and lack of choice in eating. She was categorized as being “one of those,” said with a hint of disdain.
Still, she calmly goes about her business without soap box or pulpit.
Or David, who reads and applauds and encourages those who are searching for the right path, who strives to be the best version of himself no matter how many times he feels burdened by the weight of it.
He embraces information, reads and listens, being very careful not to get caught up in the status quo, not to be misguided by the hype and the fanfare and the hyperbole.
He educates those around him with a firm urging—a calm call to attention—and I learn something from him every single day.
To be witness to individuals like this is to be part of a movement for betterment; a movement that really has no destination but is all about the trying to get there. Movements like the “Occupy Wall Street” that was encouraged, even suggested, by a Canadian not-for-profit organization, Ad Busters.
And in a small town in Nova Scotia, every Saturday the Wolfville Peace Vigil meets on the lawn of the post office and dialogue about peace and change and hope, rather than take up arms. For 10 years they have stood for an hour to reflect and plan how they, as individuals, might make a difference and encourage each other to stay true to doing better.
And there are countless others who do the same without cameras, without the press, with few or no witnesses. We don’t have to agree with their politics, nor do we have to pick up one of their placards; we merely have to listen and open our minds to new possibilities.
And that is what gives me hope.
wendistewart@live.ca

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