Refuse to be Passive

Archive for September, 2012|Monthly archive page

When Understanding Fails– Life vs Death

In Uncategorized on September 24, 2012 at 8:35 am

“Do not resent growing old. Many are denied this privilege.” — Author Unknown

A week ago, a 29 year-old woman went missing in Moncton. Yesterday, at 3:40 in the afternoon, her body was found in a local park. Her name was Alanna Greene.

I haven’t seen Alanna Greene in five years. I met her on a semester abroad program to Oxford University. We were both part of the student leadership team. We only knew each other for four months, but Alanna was intelligent and ambitious. I had no doubt she would do great things with her life. But I certainly never expected that she would only have five years left to do all she was going to achieve. I’m certain she didn’t either. I’m 27– nearly 28– and having someone I knew who was my age die is shocking. When I knew Alana, she was a Christian. I can only hope that her faith carried her through to the end. She wasn’t perfect, but she was one of God’s children, saved by belief in the death and resurrection of Christ for the complete forgiveness of her sins.

At a time like this, there is a looming question of why. Why did God let her die this young? Why was she taken from her family and friends? What is the purpose of it? Will we ever know? And then there is this question, “Can I still trust in a loving God who lets someone this young die?”

People die everyday– young and old alike. Death is a part of what it is to be human. Death is a reality of life. But even so, when it happens to someone we know, we can’t help but question. I don’t know if Alana knew she was going to die, or whether it was an accident that took her so quickly she didn’t have time to understand. My hope though, is this, that Alana Greene knew in the deepest part of her that death is not the final destination, but a gateway into a different life– a better life. While the act of dying may be scary, Christians have nothing to fear on the other side of that dark veil. God will welcome us into his kingdom, taking us into his arms like a loving parent would their child. The immense sense of peace and joy in that place, we cannot comprehend.

But what of death itself? How can a loving God let this happen? Well, all I can say to that is that while God knows death is painful for humans, he too knows it is not the end. And while he doesn’t want his children to be in pain, he has also given humans the free will to make decisions that resulted in sin entering our world. He continues to give us freewill to make choices– to keep us from simply becoming puppets on string. He wants a relationship with all his creation, but he has given us the right to choose. Because humans often choose wrong, there is pain and death. It is that simple.

This I know. God is love. Only a God of love would come down to earth in the form of his son– God personified, the limited edition– and serve him up to death on a cross that he might save us from ourselves and the sin that has us in its clutches. Only a God of love would be so kind as to sacrifice his perfection to cover our screw-ups. He had no reason to do this, except for love.

It is hard to understand death. As humans, we can never fully understand why some are taken, and others are not. It is easy to say that we believe in an omnipotent God, a God who controls all things, and cares deeply for that which he has created, when everything seems to be going well. But when things get tough, when human comprehension fails, all of a sudden we start questioning God, like we know what is best. But to truly believe, to truly know that the creator of the universe also cares for each individual human, while being in control of the cosmos, both in the past, present and future, and that nothing is beyond his power, suggests that even though we may not understand, we have to believe that there is a bigger purpose. This purpose we cannot understand with our limited field of vision within the here and now. We are like a horse with blinders on. We can only see what is directly in front of us to the exclusion of all that is around us. It is at this point that we must make the choice to trust ourselves, and the sliver of the world we can see, or trust God to do the driving and acknowledge that his field of vision is so much wider than ours, that he can truly work towards a bigger purpose.

Alanna Greene will be missed by friends and family alike. According to the RCMP, there is no foul play suspected. I don’t know what this means for how she died; all I know is that I don’t truly understand. So much life left to live. But in the midst of that I know that there is life beyond the grave, and that just because her life on this earth has come to an end, I can still hope to see her again when I come into the kingdom.



Good Morning!

In Uncategorized on September 17, 2012 at 8:13 am

The cool air wafted through my window this morning, as I was snuggled in my bed. Despite telling my sister that I would be going swimming this morning, the luxury of waking up slowly was too strong of a call to resist.  Even now, sitting with a coffee at my new-to-me dining room table, I find myself chilled. Autumn is indeed upon us. I sip my coffee, a morning offering from my roommate, and cringe at how truly horrid it is. It’s strong, bitter, and the only flavour it holds is an infused hazelnut, rather than the lovely undertones I’m used to in my own freshly ground coffee. But, who am I to look a gift horse in the mouth? My roommate has sat down with her morning coffee and we’re chatting away. The blog post I intended to write may have to be set to the side for now. I do have work this morning, and have a bit of getting ready to take care of. I’m still a little sluggish, and my brain isn’t fully awake. I’m waiting for the caffeine to kick in. Yesterday I had entirely too much coffee and the acid content just made me feel ill. Note to self. After two cups today, drink water. Actually, that’s probably a healthy decision anyway. Goodness knows those have been few and far between the past couple weeks. 

A hostel in Jasper? I wish!

In Uncategorized on September 16, 2012 at 8:19 pm

I have a dream…I suppose that is the nature of a dreamer. Although my personal preference is to be known as a “possibilities thinker.” At any given time, I can imagine multiple futures that I would want to turn into reality. Although my dreams for the future continue to primarily be directed towards becoming a personal chef, another dream has recently appeared on my horizon, not necessarily at the exclusion of the other. Upon moving to Jasper a few months ago– four, actually– I was surprised to find that there was no hostel in the town site. The closest hostel was halfway up Whistlers Mountain at the Tramway nearly 7 km away. This struck me as odd. As a firm believer in using hostels as accommodation, I couldn’t help but question why in the world there would be no easily accessible, affordable accommodation in Jasper. Hotels are out of many people’s price range, and even the in-town approved accommodation starts at $95 per night during the high season. For many travelers, this is simply outside of their budget. Hostels can accommodate a person for as little as $25 per night. That, and many people are also taking their vacations by public transit, meaning that getting to a hostel 7km out of town requires them to take a shuttle or taxi, which they have to pay for. Assuming they’re spending multiple days in Jasper, that trip back and forth can add up quickly. 

After doing a little digging around, I think I’ve discovered why there is no hostel in Jasper. It’s not that the town doesn’t want one. They know what it could do for their local economy. The issue is with the prohibitive expenses of finding and developing an appropriate site within town. As a woman under 30, I know that there is grant funding for starting new businesses, as well as mentorships available to young entrepreneurs, to ensure that business start-up succeeds. There are also loans targeted specifically at my age range. While it would no doubt take more than a little work to develop a business plan, do the marketing, procure a site, develop the site, and jump through all the hoops and red tape required, it is something I would be willing to do. I’ve always wanted to run a hostel. Could this be my chance? Obviously, one of the biggest challenges will be the finances and finding investors. On that topic I am more than a little intimidated. However, I am convinced that with the right support from the town, it’s citizens, and investors, a hostel could not only survive in Jasper, but thrive, making it a viable vacation alternative for people who might otherwise choose Banff or another place in the Rockies, simply due to fiscal realities and hostel location. What do you think? Would the town of Jasper benefit from a hostel?