Each of us is on a journey to a known destination that is taken in 3 not so easy steps; we’re born — we live — we die. It is as elementary as that no rocket science needed, we all know how we got here and how it’s going to end. It’s that second step however…
…the living part of our journey that holds the vast secrets of our life — The lessons we will learn, along the paths we choose to take and the souls we will meet along the way.
I am not sure why we meet people when we meet them and why some encounters are positive and others are negative. Why some are quick and concise while others last a lifetime. Is there a higher purpose to it all or is it just by chance. I don’t know and I am not arrogant enough to believe that I do.
The only thing I am sure of is when we meet like-mind thinkers that it was meant to be. They are an interesting breed of people, those like-mind thinkers, because they have a knack of instantly energising your mind. Around them you think and say things you never thought you would say or at least not out loud. With them your soul soars and your inner-self is comforted. Around them you are accepted — you are understood — you are known.
On the second leg of my journey to fortune and fame I met several people while the train made its way from Toronto to Winnipeg. Some of the encounters were quick and concise, while others left me pondering the reasoning “why” and others still left me feeling warm and fuzzy inside; for they were like-mind thinkers who had comforted me on my journey.
So here we go, the first installment in the, “Stranger Encounter” portion of my Journey to Fortune and Fame. Even though my mother warned me not to talk to strangers before I embarked on this trip, I did. This is one of the times I can say with certainty that I am glad I didn’t listen to her, because I met some very interesting strangers. There is something about traveling on a train across Canada that makes some people want to open up to others. Perhaps it’s because you have time, no one is in a hurry to get anywhere fast on a train. In some cases you let down your guard and allow a stranger in, to learn a little about you and your journey before you part ways. I might add it also helps if you are a writer who has started a blog about your journey. People seem to like that and don’t mind being a part of it.
So my first entry in this portion is not actually about the strangers I met, but about a conversation that I had with a group of them. The conversation left me pondering a week later about why it took place, why I wanted to be a part of it, whether or not any good had come from it and why I wanted to share it with you. Who I met on the train will come in the next blog, so on with this one I go.
On the second night, after dinner had been served, I was sitting in a corner of the dinning lounge just writing while several of the other passengers sat listening to a young gentleman. His name is Billy, a well-spoken economic student who is Ojibwa — he was talking about the Residential Schools. I stopped my writing and listened with interest, because a friend of mine had just posted information on it the day before I had left. I was appalled to read what had happened in those schools, but to actually hear someone talk about it impacted me more, so much more that I thought I should write about it.
Billy spoke of his mother who had attended a Residential School and her first hand accounting of the physical, sexual abuse and other atrocities that had befallen her. When we hear about the Residential Schools we think that it happened a hundred years ago or so, but in reality it was not that long ago. Despite the topic of conversation, which most non-Natives have ever heard of or could understand, it was calm in the dinning lounge as the rest of us listened with interest, eight in all, to Billy’s story.
The interesting part of the conversation and one that I commented on once he was finished, was that we were all strangers, hailing from different parts of the country, each coming from different ethnic and religious backgrounds and yet we all believed that the atrocities done to the Native People, by our governing body at the time, was outrageous and uncalled for. And that anyone of us would be just as upset and want vindication if it had happened to our parents — our families — our people.
Each of us then spoke in turn about what is happening world-wide and the atrocities that have occurred in the past and are taking place as we talked. Not to downplay Billy’s story, but understand that none of us is exempt from these atrocities and history continues to repeat itself.
I didn’t see Billy for the rest of the trip, but his story and the fact that I not only listened to it, but partook in at as well, has left me wonder why. There was no conclusion to the conversation for it is one I am sure that will be spoken about for months to come; as each of us had a better understanding of what happened. The one thing that I did take away from it though was that as humans we have an obligation to each other, strangers or not, to understand the plight of our brothers and sisters; past and present. Atrocities happen every day, in the name of (insert the cause here) all over the world. Perhaps by opening our minds and listening, really listening, we can change the world and make it a better place to live in, one stranger encounter at a time.