Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.I had one of those moments this week.
Early Thursday morning, I awoke in an airless Toronto hotel room facing another long day of meetings. Feeling weary and unsettled, I pulled on my running gear and headed out into the cold, dark morning to explore the residential neighbourhood nearby. As day dawned, I found myself running along quiet streets lined with stately brick homes and carefully manicured lawns.
The fact that people actually live in such houses made my legs and spirits feel heavy. How could an economic system controlled (or at least greatly influenced) by people who can afford to own and maintain such homes respond in any meaningful way to the aspirations of people living in far less affluent parts of the country – let alone families living in even more dire circumstances in other parts of the world?
Suddenly, glancing westward as I ran across a bridge a few blocks from the hotel, I was stopped in my tracks by the sight of the early morning sun illuminating an urban forest cascading down the slopes of a ravine. Clouds of yellow, burgundy, gold, green and red foliage wove an intense tapestry of intricate shape and colour that literally took my breath away. And I was reminded that, no matter how hard we humans work to screw things up, there is something bigger – mother earth, the universe, God, whatever you choose to call it – with the power to create the kind of beauty that leaves me utterly breathless.
How can I possibly abandon hope for a better world in the face of that?