“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teaming shore.
Send these the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”
These are the words inscribed on the Statue of Liberty but they should be just as true for Canada. I wonder, however if we North Americans believe that any more. Do we really want the world’s huddled masses yearning to be free?
Jesus once told a story of a wealthy landowner who was preparing for a long journey. He called his three servants and divided his money between them, each according to their ability. To one servant he gave five talents, to a second two, and to a third one. Now a talent was worth 6,000 denarii and one denari was the average pay for a day's labour. So even the servant who was only given one talent had responsibility for a lot of money. But for some reason, each servant was left the responsibility of a greater or lesser amount of the landowner's possessions.
We are born into the river of life on whose current we are carried through this life into the next. The journey may be long – seven, eight, nine, even ten decades - or it may be short, a journey that seems to end before it begins in the case of still birth.
The era into which we are born, the location, the status; these are the givens of life and are not of our choosing. But in living, we do have choices and the choices we make have an effect on life's outcome. They determine what our life will be as well as determining our attitudes toward this life. And our choices will influence those who lives come after us.