Looking for hope at the winter solstice

It’s 4 p.m. on a winter afternoon. The snow is blowing hard out of the north and the light is already fading. There’s much talk in the headlines about dark days – the political, environmental and social news is grim.

At Threads of Life, we describe our programs as offering “hope and healing”. But hope can be hard to spot. Where’s the switch we can flip to bring some light to the dark days of winter?

Well, here’s one: In 2017, more than 250 people were able to attend Threads of Life family forums across the country.  That was only possible because partners, sponsors and volunteers came together to make those events happen. Threads of Life has funders who provide money specifically for the forums. And let’s not forget that 5,500 walkers (and a whole bunch more donors) came together last spring to raise money through Steps for Life, to support family forums and other programs. All those people, motivated by love, and a desire to make the world better for others. That’s pretty hopeful.

Here’s another: We know Threads of Life is the club nobody wants to join. But it’s vital that it be here when people need it. Another 150 family members found their way to our programs over the past year. And because Threads of Life doesn’t reach out directly, most of those people found us through the efforts of our partners – particularly the staff at the ministries of labour and compensation boards across Canada. There’s a lot of light in that too.

And another: 2017 turns out to have been one of the busiest years ever for Threads of Life’s speakers bureau. More than 11,000 people heard one of our volunteers share their personal story! Our speakers often say that if they can help even one person stay safe on the job, they will be satisfied. Imagine thousands of people going to work every day with the memory of those stories in their minds. How can we help but see hope in that?

And here’s one more: Over the past couple of months, both the CBC and the Globe and Mail newspaper have done major news investigations related to workplace health and safety. Maybe you heard or read some of the coverage – a number of Threads of Life families had the chance to share their stories. We’ve also linked to many of the articles over on our Facebook page. If we are to achieve our vision of a world in which work-related deaths, injuries and disease are unacceptable, we need people in all sectors and at all levels to believe in that vision. This fall, more people were paying attention. The world is looking a little bit brighter already, don’t you think?

Things may be dark, but they’re never hopeless – not when there are so many people working hard to do the right things, to make change, to bring hope to others. Thank you to the volunteers, fundraisers, donors, sponsors, partners, reporters, workers, supervisors, managers, owners and others who have helped to flip the switch to turn on the lights this year. Winter solstice comes this Thursday, December 21. Believe it or not, after Thursday the days will start to get longer and the nights shorter. The light is coming.


What gives you hope in the dark days?
Susan Haldane