I thank you. All of you!

By Michael Lashley

Though I believe in living a life of gratitude every day, I recognize the value of giving thanks at special events, in special ways such as through donations and volunteer service, and on a day or weekend set aside for that purpose.

Here are some of the reasons I have for being grateful for my sojourn in Canada.

Several years ago, I received an international telephone call from one of my dearest friends informing me that she would be flying in to Toronto urgently because her sister was gravely ill in a hospital. Needless to say, in a flash I found myself in that hospital in the northern reaches of our city to visit the patient.

When I got there she was fully conscious and I shared a very pleasant conversation with my “sister-in-law”, a term we both used in recognition of her sister’s status as an elite member of my special club of female friends, colleagues and associates. Sister-in-law subsequently recovered fully from her life-threatening medical challenges and returned to her career and her volunteer role as the director of her church choir.

I tell this story to highlight the significance of the national health care structures of Canada which ensured that a person in a life-and-death condition, but who could not possibly afford the million-dollar facilities (and a private room) required to save her life, did not die.

Given the sacred status I attach to human life and to the physical wellbeing of all of my loved ones and their families, I say a big thank you. In some countries, one of which is geographically close to Canada, large segments of the population and of the political establishment still do not believe in the basic human right of equitable access to health care for all citizens.

I have also been impressed by the public library networks that I use so frequently in the GTA.

One Sunday afternoon in 2011, after Easter, I tried and failed to find any of my favorite spots in the Toronto Public Library next door to Fairview Mall. The reason was astonishing. This extra- large library was packed because it was the start of the last stage of the academic year when teenage students had to complete assignments and put in the two months of intense and consistent study required to guarantee success in their studies.

There were an equally large number of adults who were most likely post-graduate university students anxious to complete their research and other requirements for their Master’s and Ph. D. programs. I was overjoyed to see such a significant number of future professionals so dedicated to their academic success and therefore to Canada’s future successes.

I am especially in debt to the staff and management of my “own” Thornhill Community Centre Branch of the Markham Public Library. For persons like me, who do not have suitable facilities or IT equipment of our own, their top quality and caring services and the facilities of the library are simply priceless.

And now an ode to my familymembers, friends, past and present colleagues, associates, supporters and their respective companies, community organizations, government departments, not-for-profit agencies, universities, cultural/artistic/musical groups, and business and media entities. I enjoy working with you and sharing in our individual and joint ventures. The true meaning and purpose in life are found in the culture of sharing.

What more can I ask? What more can I do? I know the answers to these questions but I am not going there now.

I am paid not to sing. So I sing your praises on paper, not vocally.

Thank you. Each and every one of you!

Michael Lashley
Michael Lashley