As I climbed the stairs of a subway exit a perfectly intact poppy laid on the landing.
I thought for a second, and then picked it up.
I considered not taking it, but it seemed disrespectful to leave a poppy in that dirty stairwell.
In Canada, when I look at the poppy I think of sacrifices. I think of the millions that have lost their lives in war. Soldiers... civilians... people of every ethnicity... people from every walk of life... people present, people in the distant past... sacrifices.
How could I step around that poppy, and continue about my day enjoying the endless freedoms that I take for granted?
And so not only do I think of sacrifices, but a poppy also reminds me of the blessings in my life, particularly to live in a free and prosperous country.
At the same time it makes me consider war, or violence, in my own life. What am I like as an individual? Am I peacemaker? I'm not talking about an activist getting involved in political causes, but I am referring to my interior disposition. Do I try and cultivate peace in my heart and in my life? Or am I unruly and disruptive with those around me? Do I argue or gossip?
If we want to be a country of peace, we must first let peace reign within ourselves.
How does one invite peace into the heart? As Catholics, frequenting the sacraments -- regular confession is a fantastic way to get a better sense of who you are and what lies at the depth of your soul. Reading scripture and meditating on it is another excellent way; How does Jesus suggest we live our lives? And if I'm not living that way, then I should start to do so!
These are the thoughts that swim around my head this Remembrance Day.
Remembering. Reflecting. Praying for those who have sacrificed, those who have fallen.
The eleventh month. The eleventh day. The eleventh hour.