Lessons from the Road: So Many Good People

The Canadian rolls along the Athabasca River in Jasper National Park, bug splats and all!

On August 16th, I set out from Toronto, Ontario aboard the “The Canadian”, Canada’s trans-continental train, for Jasper, Alberta, a 3 day’s rail journey.  From there, I set out on a bicycle trip down “the most beautiful highway in the world”, the Icefields Parkway to Lake Louise and from there to Banff and Canmore, Alberta.   After visiting with my sister Kathleen and her family, I got back on my bicycle and pedalled to Vancouver; in total a journey of 1,500kms.  These blog entries are some of the things I learned along the way.

Each day, as the train bumped and swayed its way across northern Ontario and the Canadian prairies, I sat in the observation deck of ‘The Canadian’ and inevitably someone would come along with whom I would converse.   There was the couple from Nepal, the lawyer and her sister from Toronto, an Armenian Orthodox Priest from Montreal, and a Roman Catholic Priest from Germany.  Of course, being away from home, and away from the day-to-day busyness of life, it’s easy to strike up conversations with people with simple questions like, “So, where are you from?  Or, where are you going?”

I had wonderful conversations with the people I met, especially with the Armenian Priest.   He was a young, newly ordained priest, and was on his way to Vancouver to serve the Armenian community there.  We had some wonderful conversations about God, prayer, and culture, and we shared our experiences and stories of faith with each other over the 3 day trip.   As we were traveling over a Sunday, and I would not have an opportunity to go to Mass, I, the 2 priests, and some passengers from the United States met early on the Saturday morning and we prayed morning prayers together.  Some people came up to the car and quickly turned around when they heard the prayers.  Fr. Hudat chanted his prayers in his deep base voice and we listened along.  It was a great experience of ecumenism on the Canadian.

What I learned then, and was reminded of over and over again along the way, is that there are many good people in the world, and in this age of instant bad news, it is easy to lose sight of that fact.    So many times, especially when the road was long and I was tired of pedalling my bike, I would meet these people who would smile, ask me where I was headed, and encourage me with their interest.    Sometimes, on the long highway, people would beep their horns and wave.  It made a difference when the going was tough.

1 Comment

  1. by Marg

    On October 2, 2012

    Nice post Pat

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