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By Helena Smrcek

Photo by Katie Moum on Unsplash

We’re ready to ring the bell and call this pandemic over, even though the statistics tell us that we aren’t out of the woods, yet. Canadians are tired and fed up; sadly, this seems to be the only thing we agree on.

Our nation has been divided for decades. We may think ourselves nothing like our neighbours to the south, as their polarity seems to be a bit more zealous. No, Canadians are subtle. Perhaps we have inherited some of that calmness from our British overseers, then added our own reserve, yet this pandemic pulled back the curtain, just a little.

Social media posts, protests, convoys – we are an angry nation. The question is: what are we so angry about? Over the past few weeks, I have had conversations with several young adults. Topics of jobs, housing, inequality, even the questions of ever having children came up.

They seemed to be losing hope, and the supressed anger became more evident as the conversation unfolded. The paradox? They live in one of the wealthiest countries in the world, have access to latest technology, which means not only social media platforms and enhanced life-reels of their online friends, but also information and knowledge. How about free healthcare? Parents willing to support them, as they try to figure out life.

There is a labour shortage, not only in the service industry. (Has anyone tried to find a plumber or an electrician?). The government offers free education in the attempt to encourage young people to take on trades. We are bringing in healthcare workers from abroad to deal with the desperate situation our hospitals are faced with. There is even a shortage of teachers.

Our country has been welcoming immigrants for decades, and being one of them, I had to point out during our conversations, that my husband and I lived in a basement apartment, literally counting pennies to buy a can of food for our cat.

Unprepared for the culture shock, many newcomers sink into depression, yet most find the fight in them to rise and try. There are countless Canadian rags-to-riches stories. What I ask is: what gives the new Canadians the fire to press on and succeed despite obstacles such as lack of language skills, blatant discrimination hidden under the phrase ‘Canadian experience’, and the emotional trauma of leaving all they have known for an uncertain promise of a better future?

Better yet, what do young adults need in order to find that fire and fight not only for themselves and their personal future, but the future of our nation? People had children through the WWI, Great Depression, WWII, the Cold War, under the communist regimes of Eastern Europe, through the countless wars of the 20th century – somehow life went on. I would never undervalue the human suffering and loss of life during such terrible times, and the tenacity of our ancestors to continue living. To rebuild. To create a better future. Where has that resolve of spirit gone?

After all, we are not dealing with bombed-out cities, concentration camps and dictators. Our situation is far from desperate. Will we continue the narrative of hopeless future, or will we choose to see the light of the day and realize that our generation has opportunities like no other before us?

Agree or disagree with our government policies, truth be told, Canadians had not seen the worst of this pandemic, that stayed beyond our borders. Our social network was strained to the max, but thanks to hard working people, dedicated to their work, it held. No leader has the power to stop the virus, yet she has the responsibility to answer to her people. No leader can make everyone happy and will ultimately face the disapproval of his people. That is called public service.

So, where do we go from here? Perhaps we tell our young people that this too shall pass. Life doesn’t end before their thirtieth birthday. There is hope, even in the middle of the pandemic. Yes, some of our toys might have been taken away, the food that we take for granted may not always be on the shelves, and the items that we order online might take much longer to arrive at our door.

I pray for the burnt-out medical personnel. Those who had seen the worst. Had to deliver terrible news of someone’s passing. The families that were unable to see their loved ones as they departed this world. I pray for healing of our nation, its people and especially for the young generation that seems to be so disillusioned with life. I pray that they will, once again, be able to see the opportunities our beautiful country has to offer.

Recovery starts with every one of us. First, just like on an airplane in trouble, put on your own oxygen mask. Find a way to keep yourself healthy and strong, physically, mentally but most of all spiritually, for we are at war. There are many resources online. Do feed your spirit with hope every day, because only then you will be able to find the energy to reach out to others with kind words, encouragement, prayer, and support.

It starts at home, at your family table. Talk, but mostly listen. Tragedies can be avoided if only we keep in tune with those around us. Life is a precious gift of God, and He wants us to live it well. It’s our responsibility to live happy, productive, fulfilled, and successful lives. Canada is a land of opportunity. God gave us not only the tools necessary to achieve His calling in our lives, but also the Holy Spirit to guide us, and ultimately His own Son, for in Him we find unconditional love, hope and salvation.

About the author...
Helena Smrcek
, a journalist, author, and screenplay writer, believes in the power of a well-told story. Her readers can expect a captivating page-turner, filled with thrilling suspense, and heartwarming romance.

She started in publishing as a high school student, freelancing for her local newspaper. Her journalism carrier took off in 1999. Within three years Helena accumulated over 100 by-lines and interviewed Ann Graham Lotz, Carol Lewis, Cec Murphey, Kelita and others. Her stories, many of them covers, have been published in Canada, USA, Bermuda, New Zealand, and Australia. In 2002 she accepted a position at Listen Up TV, a current affairs program.

Helena became a founding member of Write!Canada, and The Word Guild, a Canadian national association of writers and editors. She is a graduate of Jerry Jenkin’s Craftsman Class, Act One, Donald Maass’ Fire in Fiction, Writer’s Police Academy, and several mentoring programs.

She regularly attends writers’ conferences and is a past or current member of such organizations as Word Weavers, American Christian Fiction Writers, Sisters in Crime, Toast Masters International, Boni, The Writer’s Guild, and others. Helena loves to participate in NaNoWriMo and hosts a writers’ group.

As an entrepreneur, she is familiar with marketing, branding, and social media. She has volunteered with YMCA, mentoring new Canadians pursuing their business dreams, and was an active member of her local Chamber of Commerce.

When not at her keyboard, Helena loves listening to audio books. Working on her hobby farm, and traveling. She lives in the Waterloo Region, Ontario, with her husband, two adult children, two dogs, several cats, and her favorite goat, Rosie.