A Difference

FTLComm - Tisdale - October 2, 2000
When they finish a ship it is slide into the water and someone's wife smashes a big bottle of wine on the bow, people cheer and they know what the thing is for. In fact when it enters service it is "commissioned" given a specific task and it sets out to bob its way around until it can no longer fill the role for which it was designed.

We don't do that with people, they are born, they grow up and people say "Oh he turned out pretty well." Or they might say "Well all things consider, she did the best she could." What is odd that occasionally some people do come along who are commissioned. Their parents, their relatives, in some cases the elders of their band or clan will specify the role and needed achievements they expect of that person. In some communities the high school graduation ceremony is a sort of mass commissioning but the goals and objectives are left open ended and few put their energy to the task of accomplishing the terms of their commission.

But some times there are dedicated soles who decide that they are destined to do, sometimes and they "self commission" themselves. Immediately, we think of the careless youth and rich boy Pierre Elliott Trudeau who waited until the time in life when most people are reaching the end of their career, when he set out to "make a difference". You have seen the outpouring of respect and recognition now this past few days for this skinny, charming and often rude guy from Montreal.

I don't want to recap his life, but rather point to some interesting achievements of this guy who like many others, have commissioned themselves to make a difference. Though people point to his achievements as Prime Minister and select the major changes he produced in this country as things that matter to history, I think Trudeau's greatest achievement was as a hard working law professor, turned Liberal cabinet minister, who set out to reform Canada's legal system and his law reforms have become a part of what Canadians consider, their way of life.

While Canadians reflect on Trudeau's accomplishments in this country, they do not realise that this gallant world traveller, who had been almost to every country in the world as a young man, had perhaps more affect on the course of world history, than any other world leader of the twentieth century. Trudeau came to power when the United States and the Eastern Bloc countries, "the iron curtain countries" were locked in a shooting war. 1968, the year Trudeau assumed the leadership of this country, was the year of the "Tet offensive". He, not Richard Nixon, opened the door to China and establish normal relations with the world's largest country, he went to Cuba, he went to Russia and sooner or later, peace broke out.

The affects a single man can have on this whole planet are rarely seen, but this man did have the skills and world experience to change things. Few people ever have such a dramatic opportunity, but all of us have the ability to do our part as small, or as great, as it can be.

With a clear idea of what you want to do with your life; with a clear idea of what skills you need to acquire to achieve your goals; with a clear idea of what sacrifices you are willing to make to push forward, toward your goals. You can make a difference.
This morning's pictures are interesting, the one at the bottom of the page is what the sky looked like at 0700 as the sun rose behind a nasty bank of dark cloud, the one at the top of the page is at 0730 when the sky began to break up as the wind made a difference.