Canada is not the land I was born in or is the land I'm residing now. But, Canada has a special place in my heart, because it's my adopted home. Canada opened its doors and welcomed me, my family, and my fellow country men with compassion,when my native land was in turmoil and ethnic war was at its peak.
Like many others fleeing from my country, we too left behind family, friends, secure job, house, land and belongings, and landed in this country twenty five years back. While growing up,I'd studied a little about Canada and had seen snow only on Christmas cards. But, when we landed in Edmonton Alberta in the month of December, clad in overly padded coats and knee high boots, we may have looked hilarious, but we were ready to face whatever the promise land and prairie winter would offer us. Because
English had been my second language in the land I was born, which was then called Ceylon, language didn't become a barrier us.
Before I came, I had asked the Lord to give us a good church to attend, and the Lord must have taken my prayer so seriously that He put us up in an apartment just next to the building that read The Southside Church of Nazarene. For my husband and I, who didn't have a kin around, the next door church became our home and the members became our family.
No sooner, the ladies at the church learned that I was pregnant with my second child, they threw a great baby shower. And the entire church stood with us and prayed, when the baby born two months premature wrestled to survive in her first few months. Our daughter was so privileged to be born in the newly built Grey Nun's hospital in Millwoods and attended by well caring doctors and nurses at the facility. Yes, our daughter is a Canadian by birth and is very proud to call herself so. I wonder whether she would have had even a chance to survive, if she had born in my native land, when chaos and calamity ruled the place. Today, she, a beautiful woman of grace and character, a graduate from McGill University, who is pursuing a career in healthcare to give back the care and service, she once received.
It is in Canada, I had the opportunity to discover the writer within me. Although Language Arts was my favorite subject and my essays were read out in class and even managed to appear in my school magazines, no teacher encouraged me to see myself as a writer. In fact, I must say, I stumbled into writing rather than pursuing it. It's in my early fifties, I got into writing, and it's God's mercy that the first few manuscripts I submitted got published and kept me on the track without giving up.
I'm so grateful to the Canadian editors at Edmonton Journal, Our Family, Mennonite Brethren Herald,Living Light News, who didn't discard my manuscripts no sooner they saw my long last name which they couldn't pronounce or spell. Instead of thinking, what good can come out this woman's writing, whose name we haven't heard before, and throw my work into the nearby wastepaper basket, they took the time to read,assess,pay and publish.
I'm proud to say I'm a member of ICWF ,for without their support and the opportunities they provided, I wouldn't have come this far in my writing. Even after moving to US, I continue to be a part of Inscribe, for I value what it stands for, and the support it offers to writers like me.
Yes, Canada stands as a beacon of hope, peace and refuge, and my family and I are so blessed to call ourselves Canadians citizens. As we honor this country with our writing this month, I pray that Canada will continue to stand tall as a leader in pursuing peace, doing good and serving well in humanitarian work. On behalf of my family, relatives,friends and fellow country men of my native land, I salute Canada for the life amd opportunities it has given us. May God bless this great nation and keep it safe.
" If you extend your soul to the hungry
And satisfy the afflicted soul
Then your light shall dawn in the darkness,
And your darkness shall be as the noonday." Isaiah 58:10.