November 11, 2014

God's Goodness to Our Country by Connie Inglis

Today is a day for remembering--remembering the freedom we have and thanking God for those that gave us that freedom.

I grew up in small-town Saskatchewan, in freedom, especially from a child’s perspective. My neighbour knew your neighbour and the house on the other side of town knew exactly whose kids those were playing cops and robbers in the empty lot across the street. War was the farthest thing from our minds, especially for my siblings and me who grew up under Mennonite traditions. Our family history did not even include soldiers gone off to war.

Years later I was confronted by the opposite scenario in the country of Myanmar—a country crippled by leaders who offer anything but freedom. Leaders who fight with their own to retain status and power, without moral conscience. I was so far from my childhood. Yet it was there that my husband and I were called to be—to help minority language groups, specifically, to help a group in Myanmar, oppressed and seemingly forgotten. And it was there that I saw their hope in Aung San Suu Kyi, their figure of freedom. 

This woman, burdened by her people’s plight, helped form a new political party in 1988, the National League for Democracy, and she became its leader, embodying democracy and freedom for her nation. In 1990 her party won the election and she became their new Prime Minister, but then was instantly squelched by the military junta. Suu Kyi was put under house arrest and has been under house arrest for much of the last 20 years and was finally released in 2010. She gave up her freedom; she gave up her rights to see her children; she chose to remain in Myanmar as her husband lay dying in England. She gave up all.

I cannot fathom her burdened heart. I try to imagine walking in her shoes but I cannot. She seems superhuman and yet she is not. Bono, from the group U2 sings about her all too clearly: 
You're packing a suitcase for a place none of us has been
A place that has to be believed to be seen
You could have flown away
A singing bird in an open cage
Who will only fly, only fly for freedom

Walk on, walk on
What you got they can't deny it
Can't sell it or buy it
Walk on, walk on
Stay safe tonight

And I know it aches
And your heart it breaks
And you can only take so much
Walk on, walk on.
(“Walk On,” All That You Can’t Leave Behind, 2000)

Aung San Suu Kyi refused to give up. Yet we know not how history will be written for this country.
Then the contrast: Canada, the “true north strong and free.” No longer do I turn off my mind when I stand for our anthem. Now it brings tears to my eyes, every time. God has been and continues to be good to us. I want to remember and be thankful. Seeing the situation in Myanmar has helped me do so. It has given me a tiny taste of what our soldiers fought for at Ypres, at Normandy, at Passchendaele. Our soldiers prevailed and world’s history was written. Canada’s history was written, granting me peace and freedom. 

I do not want to forget. I want to wake every morning thankful to God for freedom. I plan my own day. I make my own choices. I voice my own convictions. As a child I did not understand that I was living in a free country. Today I do. Yet, my friends on the other side of the globe hope for freedom. I weep with a broken heart for them. I weep with a joyful heart for us. 


  1. What a good, strong, and suitable piece to read before we leave for the Remembrance Day service in Barrhead. We can't fix everything, but we can remember and honour our soldiers--fallen and still standing on guard for us. And we can pray for peace!
    Thanks for sharing your perspective.

  2. I grew up in a small farming community. I can relate to the innocence and simplicity of life on the farm.
    This article is a wonderful reminder to appreciate the freedom we have and to pray for those who are still fighting for it.

  3. A very powerful and emotion packed piece. thanks for bringing our need to be thankful into focus.

  4. Well written, well developed concepts, Connie.

    I've never considered the political element when it comes to freedom. Yes, we know of the soldiers on the front line, but there are decision makers who have given up much in the name of freedom. We too often ridicule them. I need to re-think this! Thanks for the nudge.


  5. Although I'm reading this a day later, I had to comment. Your piece is powerful because its simplicity clearly conveys two sides of freedom: those who have it and those who don't; and it's beautifully written, with heart. Thank you!

  6. Thanks for your remembrance reminder. My mother age 90 always says she is so thankful to live in this country.

  7. Thanks for this Connie. I fear if we do not stand for the freedoms we enjoy, we'll be in the same place as Myanmar. Will we be strong like the lady in your piece now before it gets to where she is to protect our freedoms before they're taken away.


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