The first call was from CJOB, Charles Adler, and we talked about it for a bit - and he is always so gracious - and then he asked me.
"What do you think about Manitoba?"
Of course he would ask that - this is the Order of Manitoba. I am living in Manitoba.
I never can quite remember what I say after a radio interview - but I think I said that even though I was born and raised in BC, I am glad we chose to live in Manitoba. We moved here permanently in 1980. I strongly believe that if what happened to our daughter needed to happen, I am glad it happened here. The people here embraced us when our hearts were breaking and sustained us through thirty years of public processing. They are an incredible people - always saying the right things when we meet.
But there is more to it than that - I love the white of the prairie snow. I paint it, revel it and just live off of it. It is the first thing I noticed when I moved onto the prairies. The glistening snow here has lasting power - what more could one ask.
And we love the city of Winnipeg which has all the big city amenities while still retaining the warmth of a small town feeling of belonging. It is a city that knows the meaning of friendship.
Manitoba is covered with a dome of an ocean blue, knows how to truly celebrate the miracle of a lime-green spring like no where else, and has the expanse and the space for those amazing fields of yellow sunflowers just south of us.
And the air - oh that beautiful, pure air that sometimes roars down our streets with gusto but for the most part just hovers and swirls around us breathing life and joy deep into our souls.
I am truly glad that I am receiving the noble Order of Manitoba.
Later this morning, I received this letter that explains it all.
"Congratulations on being selected to receive the Order of Manitoba, the highest honour the province of Manitoba can bestow on one of its citizens. As you are aware, a news release (attached) was issued today announcing your selection to receive this honour.
When invested into the Order of Manitoba you are a member for life and will be entitled to wear the insignia of the order and to use the initials O.M. after your name. Your name will also be engraved on a granite plaque as part of the Order of Manitoba permanent plaque display on the 2nd floor of the Manitoba Legislative Building."
Engraved - my name is going to be engraved into a granite plaque -- and I am still alive to see it!
While I still think they might have gotten it wrong because I truly haven't done much to deserve this - the only think I have done is to try to survive my own life and write about it. I want to acknowledge openly that It has been the efforts of the people around me who have done all the hard work - and I thank all of them for making me look good. You are so special!
However, even though I don't feel worthy, I am going to enjoy this moment. Just as I have learned the importance of drawing out the beauty of every moment even when times are tough - I'm surely going to celebrate this glorious moment now that times are good.
People of our time are losing the power of celebration. Instead of celebrating we seek to be amused or entertained. Celebration is an active state, an act of expressing reverence or appreciation. To be entertained is a passive state--it is to receive pleasure afforded by an amusing act or a spectacle.... Celebration is a confrontation, giving attention to the transcendent meaning of one's actions." ― Abraham Joshua Heschel