Buddha-Statue_600x256I’m on a staff retreat at work this week and we’re discussing diversity. Part of our homework was a bit of show and tell – or as I’m told it’s now called, show and share. We had to bring in an item that demonstrates what diversity means to us on a personal level. I was quite happy with my response:

No one could accuse the current canadian government of being progressive. Not by a long shot. But current policy aside, Canada does have a fairly progressive history. True, it’s being undermined at every turn, but it’s gonna take more than one bad government to undo ALL the good that’s been done over the years.

One of the best things about this country is how open it has been to immigration. True, there are a lot of hoops for new Canadians to jump through, but for the most part, it’s a fairly inviting country. Not as inviting as it could be, but still – for years, we’ve had countless immigrants coming from dozens of different cultures, and finding their place. And they bring with them their cultural diversity: their music, their food, and all the amazing things that make a culture vibrant.; things that those of us from outside those cultures would never have otherwise had the opportunity to experience. It enriches our lives, and that in itself would be reason enough to appreciate Canada’s progressive immigration policies and the joy of diversity. But there’s an even more immediate reason why that spirit of inclusion is important to me.

You might be wondering what the item I brought was. It was a little figurine in the form of a Buddha. About 11 years ago, Junkii gave me the figurine as I was leaving for an overseas trip without him. It was early in our relationship, but since that time, it has travelled with me everywhere I’ve travelled – it’s my good luck charm and in my mind, it’s a mini-Junkii, so I always have him with me, whether full-size Junkii is there or not.

Junkii is the love of my life – and that’s the one thing I’m more grateful for than anything else. And yet, if I didn’t live in a country that embraces diversity, I would never have met him; he would never have come here. I would have missed out on that love. I would have missed out on him and on his culture. On the wonderful food. On knowing his wonderful family. I would have missed out on learning about that little Buddha.

I can’t think of a more important reason to embrace diversity.

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