Mar 062009
 

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions(Part 3)

 

 

John Lennon reminded us in Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy):

 

Life is what happens to you when you’re making other plans.

 

This week ‘life’ happened with news of the death of Alexander Martinez – an adult student attending a college night course that I teach.

 

Alexander was a real gentleman and a genuine person. Originally from El Salvador, he told us, in a recent class presentation, how he had been a 3rd year law student who was forced to leave school in order to make a living.  

 

His life was a series of stories, with victories and losses but, being forced down, he came to succeed later. As he talked (needlessly apologizing for his command of English) I was able to see the picture of a man who was ‘worthy of his suffering’– choosing not to give in to defeat. 

 

I wondered how it was that a man like Alexander could find it so difficult to obtain meaningful employment in Canada. Was it his English? It certainly wasn’t his ability to communicate.

 

Nor was it for lack of effort, as I had first met him in one my classes some two years earlier, working hard on completing yet another college certificate.

 

The night I passed on the sad news of his sudden death to his fellow classmates, we were consoled in the memory of the spontaneous group exercise we did for him after his class presentation. Together, we conducted a brainstorming session to develop ideas that would help him gain employment. We listed these on large board sheets which we all signed, along with our best wishes.  Towards the end of our class, I glanced over to see Alexander re-reading those sheets. He seemed moved that we took the time to care.

 

Maybe that’s what Canada is all about. Maybe we should demonstrate that more often.

 

Good bye Alexander. And, on behalf of your classmates, thank you for choosing Canada!

 

Your life decision has helped reaffirm mine. Or, in the words of Marley’s Ghost from Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol,

 

“Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, benevolence, were all my business. The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!”


Fred Parry

Fred Parry

               fredparry.ca

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