A Different Kind of Canada Day

July 1, 2013

by Alexis Harrison, Project Information Coordinator

Reflecting on Canada Day in light of the southern Alberta floods and other life-altering changes.

There's no day like Canada Day in the small Alberta town where I grew up. The village's two main streets are cordoned off to make room for passing ponies, tractors, muscle cars, and other entries in our annual Canada Day parade. The streets are lined with residents and out-of-towners, families, friends, and co-workers, who have all gathered to take in the annual event.

This has been my July 1st experience nearly all my life – participating in local festivities and sipping iced tea on my Grandma’s front porch. But this year will be different. At 90 years old, my Grandma has moved into a senior’s lodge and her house has been sold. Today is our last Canada Day in that old house.

As my Grandma's possessions are boxed up to be sold or given away, I can't help but think of those whose July 1, 2013 will also be very different from other years. Thousands of homeowners in southern Alberta will be too busy cleaning up or throwing out the things they own, to attend any patriotic festivities. Some have even lost entire homes to June's floods.

But I'm happy to say that Samaritan's Purse is bringing Canada Day spirit to them instead. More than 100 volunteers will be hitting the streets, finding and helping homeowners whose long weekend plans have been interrupted by river waters that flooded their homes. The volunteers will be helping homeowners clean out mud and debris, tear down ruined drywall and insulation, and spray disinfectant so mould can't grow.

My Grandma's home may not have been flooded, but it was still only a temporary possession that my family was able to enjoy. As I watch the parade and sip iced tea on her deck for the final time this Canada Day, I'll be reflecting on Matthew 6:19-21:

"Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."