Peace cannot be achieved through violence, it can only be attained through understanding.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
The Purpose precedes the Journey.
So here we are, a group of young (and seemingly slightly crazy) women launching our website about our upcoming journey across the diverse (ethnically and geographically) land of Canada. We, the ordinary, are on the verge of something bigger than ourselves, something simply unordinary yet simple at its core…
Biking across Canada? Really? Let’s be serious here…
For the sake of keeping it simple we will begin this blog with the basics of relaying the meaning of the family of five ‘W’s’ and the single 'H':
Who – Julia Heyens, Hannah Carter, Sarah Kerfoot, Carolyn Gray
What – 3 bikers, 1 driver, and 1 blogger trekking over the mountains, across prairies, through forests, cities, farms, the Maritimes - with the simple purpose of bringing volume to the voices of Palestinians and Israelis who have already been crying out for peace.
When – July to October 2011.
Where – Across Canada – this country that stakes a claim to the image of peace, equality, acceptance, and open doors, with the purpose of challenging these words that claim to define the people that lie within it’s borders, and to encourage fellow Canadians that we the ordinary truly can speak for our fellow brothers and sisters overseas.
How – you ;) (support in whichever way you feel led...Peanut Butter included)
Okay, yeah… so why?
To bring it to the personal… my plan for the next 730 days of my life was drastically different even less than one week ago. But quite quickly, when faced seriously with such an opportunity to fill a need so perfectly molded to me, any other word but “yes” in response just didn’t make sense.
If you were asked to answer what or who do you live for? What would you say?
As of right now, the conflict in Palestine and the plight of the people there does not consume nor define my life – in fact nothing really does from the perspective of most people – I do not have what “they” might refer to as a “thing”. I am not an activist (by my standards anyway), nor am I a hippie (some would argue with me here – I like to think I keep it somewhat classy most of the time…I have lost the desire for dreads and I shower, ok?) who is running away from commitment or rebelling against the system.
However, overtime I’ve realized that my passions lie here in Canada – how blessed yet how consumed with ourselves and these blessings we’ve become (Everybody’s Working for the Weekend… Loverboy, anyone?). We have knowledge but are ignorant. We have money and think we are entitled to hoard it. We are satisfied if we have achieved security and can remain content so long as our own sphere is kept in balance (the two family cars are oiled, we can organize the garage every spring and make a profit in our annual yard sale, make it to an all-inclusive every other year with the Jones, and treat ourselves to a new pair of shoes or video game every other week [depending on your preference]).
As a student here in the west my heart is overwhelmed at the potential I see in the personalities, minds, talents, etc. in people around me… I see individuals who possess the capacity to do great things for great things (not in the way that earns them 6 annual figures, or in the way that acquires lifelong stability to foster contentment…but real potential to use what makes them unique to build up others and our world in the process). Yet how much are we, the supposedly top few most educated young people in the world… actually truly using the opportunities around us except to better our resumes and boost our pay-cheques? We have been given so much… why hoard or waste it all? Why, why, why?
To those whom much has been given, much is required…
What or who do you live for?
Let’s go back to the word ordinary. Even from a western (gotta love that word) standpoint, I don’t have all too much:
- No money (however TD and OSAP have been quite generous thus far….oh wait, what do you mean I have to pay you back, Uncle OSAP??!)
o Alright so if we’re being honest with each other, I should really say I have negative money.
- No degree
o That’s right, I’m prolonging my degree even more… (I promise this is only temporary... I swear I love school)
- We’ve already covered the fact that I’ve got no real special callings/purposes/niche (I’m making myself out to sound like a real winner, eh?)
- I’ve not got a lot of years on me (she’s a youngling, this one…but still has right to the 80’s and will stand by that).
I’ve got a brain…
I’ve got a voice…
I’ve got freedom…
...(granted, my voice is small, young, uneducated, untrained, and abundant in grammatical, punctual, and linguistic error; I possess only a little knowledge and a passionate mind that thirsts for awareness but struggles with organizing the details; and freedom? One could debate if this is even real)...
Knowledge, advocacy, and freedom – a dynamic trio that can be easily wasted and too many let rot or misuse. Let us love our fellow humankind by listening and supporting, and lovingly fighting for each other.
We are ordinary; simply the-girls-next-door – but we are driven strongly by responsibility to respond to what knowledge has been given us about injustice against our fellow human beings: to use our bodies (legs to bike, butts to drive, and hands to write), and our voices to advocate.
It won’t be easy… there is much research and planning ahead, many tables to wait on, questions to be answered, countless needs to be fulfilled …but often good things are not easily fought for. But they are worth it.
Why do we ride (etc.)? The message is simple. We are humans loving humans (my non-hippy argument is not working very well, is it?). Using what we little or much that we have, we ride; we teach; we drive; we write; we love. We do it because we can.
Join alongside us (you are cordially invited)! Through this blog we’ll be updating the journey from its very seedlings through till the end. Feel free to read, write us, pray for us, support us – but most of all… keep your eyes on equality AND equity… and do what you can.
What/Who do you live for?
If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.
Keep it classy,
C (NOT a hippie …? No. I’m sticking to “ordinary” for now…even though who really is ordinary …I’d hate to be just ordinary. Even an ordinary hippie.)