Today’s #12Days4Good campaign theme of OPPORTUNITY reminds me of that old phrase: “There but for the grace of God go I….” When we see a person down on their luck, struggling, or troubled, it’s easy to jump to conclusions about how they got to that position. Maybe they didn’t have enough opportunity provided to them. Maybe they didn’t try hard enough to seek out opportunity to better their situation.
Well, really, we human beings are complex creatures, and a quick glance into a person’s life can’t give us the full picture. The important thing to remember, in my opinion, is that it’s truly none of our business, and moreover, who are we to judge. If not for the grace of God, or just good luck, we could easily be in that same situation.
I am approaching today’s topic from these two angles with a few anecdotes, and I invite you the reader to find ways to provide or seek opportunities to make our community a better place.
- Provide opportunity
As a person who has had plenty of opportunities provided to me, I do my best to pass it on. One particularly rewarding aspect of my role as a city councillor is that I am able to share opportunities with residents. On a regular basis I meet with people who have ideas for how to better our community, and it is my honour to help them find new connections with others, or with resources to apply to so they can turn their good ideas into reality. I also participate as a mentor in the Leadership Waterloo Region’s Youth On Board program. On a personal level, our family participated in a sponsorship group to provide a Syrian family with support for their first year in Canada. What opportunities can you provide to others in 2017? What skill or knowledge or resources can you share? How might you maximize your ability to make a difference in someone’s life, and in your own?
- Seek opportunity
Opportunity is not always a static object, waiting to be taken. It is fluid, and it isn’t always obvious when it is in front of us. To find new opportunities, we have to open the door, and use our resources to investigate ways forward. Seeking new opportunities usually comes with a fair bit of fear of the unknown. It can be debilitating, but I’ve come to realize the trick is to try anyway, to tell someone out loud about your goal, and push through regardless of the fear. For myself, I used to be terrified of public speaking. After putting myself in situations where I have to speak publicly anyways, and working on my skills, now I actually enjoy it. What opportunities would you like to seek in 2017? Who will you tell about your goal? What’s the worst that can happen if you try?
As you reflect on your own relationship to the theme of opportunity, I hope you can appreciate the gifts of opportunities you’re able to provide and/or seek, thanks to the grace of God, or as I like to think of it, just plain good fortune. Thank you for the opportunity (pardon the pun) to be a ‘Do-Gooder’ this season, and may you have a wonderful season filled with peace, love, and joy.
-by Sarah Marsh
Sarah Marsh is our featured Do Gooder on this, the last day of #12Days4Good. You can learn more about Sarah at www.12days4good.com