Musings

Love is better than anger…

“Love is better than anger, hope is better than fear, and optimism is better than despair”.

Jack Layton

Early this morning Jack Layton, the Leader of the NDP party in Canada and the official opposition lost his hard fought battle with cancer.  Mr. Layton stepped down temporarily a few weeks ago to fight this battle, and we are all very saddened that it so quickly took his life at a time when it seemed his leadership within his own party was so very important.  He left a letter to the country in which his closing words were

Love is better than anger, hope is better than fear, and optimism is better than despair”.

I had the privilege of knowing his wife Olivia Chow, who participated in the annual Race For Dignity event at Dignitas, the organization where I work.  She is so approachable and supportive of the work we are doing providing medical care to those with HIV/AIDS in Africa,and for that we are grateful to her.  Our thoughts and prayers go out to her and the family at this time of deep loss.

Mr. Layton’s final words to his country illustrate deeply rooted values and beliefs in love and hope and optimism and in the face of such great disappointment we are all grateful for this positive message.

Yesterday here in Toronto a huge rainstorm came through – one of those storms where the sky is completely black in the middle of the day, and the rain comes down in torrents so hard and fast that puddles gather on lawns and gutters are filled with rushing water and all plant life in the path are almost flattened with the force and weight of the water. It poured for what seemed to be forever but more than likely was 30 or 40 minutes.  I wondered if the grass and the gardens would ever soak up the water that lay in puddles throughout.

Once the sky had cleared I went out to inspect and found the door mats waterlogged and many of the plants close to flattened by the force.  I lifted a few and shook the water and thought how this unexpected storm had created such havoc for the plant life.  Would these plants ever recover from such a battering?  I shook as much water off them as I could and retreated inside knowing that plant life is resilient and chances are they would look very different in the morning.

And I was right.  Although there was damage, such as mulch that was carried by the force from its garden bed to the middle of the yard, the plants are once again standing tall reaching for the sun.  The water on the leaves has dried and the weight has been lifted.  The rain that had soaked the beds is now being soaked up by the plants giving their stems strength to stand and recover from the battering.  The shapes might need a bit of pruning but really not a lot.  Although the storm was tough for the time it endured, the plants are all the better for the great drink of water they received in the end.

You know where I am going with this.  It’s just a simple example of our resilience as people if we choose to soak up the lessons from the storms that pass through.  The message is in the story and really needs no further explanation.  Sometimes resilience is about attitude – and willingness to be positive.

And that is why the words of Jack Layton are so important.

Even in the storm where he lost his battle with life here on earth he chose to leave a message of hope and optimism.  And he is so right.  Love is better than anger.  Hope is so much better than fear.  And optimism a far better option than despair.

Thank you Jack Layton for your leadership  right to the end – we so appreciate your words and your life!

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2 thoughts on “Love is better than anger…

  1. What a wonderful post about a wonderful man. Although I’m not an NDP er, I do admire Jack’s hard work and dedication to his job, his family and his wife. I especially liked how he mentioned in his letter to us all, not to be discouraged if we’re fighting cancer, just because his treatments didn’t work, that doesn’t mean ours won’t.
    To me that shows what type of man is was, caring for others through his words, despite his passing.
    My heart goes out to his family.

  2. I agree Jill – doesn’t matter what party we follow – his leadership was strong and he left us better for having watched how he led through the toughest battle of his career – I too admired him and especially admired the letter he sent to fellow Canadians – he gave a message of hope and endurance and optimism – he was a very fine man!

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