Sunday, January 26, 2014

Sharing the Ride

It's been an exciting and nerve-wracking week, which on so many levels seems like a dream in retrospect.

The adventure began when Paul received a phone call last November, telling him that he was to be inducted into the Order of Ontario. He was stunned at the news and spent most of that day trying to process it. He felt unworthy of this recognition, our province's highest official honour.

In our almost 45 years of marriage, Paul's overriding characteristics have been generosity, compassion, leadership, and courage to speak out for justice and equity, even in the face of strong opposing forces.

Still, the honour felt overwhelming. This sense only deepened at the ceremony, with the other 25 new appointees to the Order of Ontario. We both felt humbled in the company of these men and women and yet, in talking with some of them, many came from humble beginnings, and were simply living out their destiny and calling in their respective fields, using their particular gifts for the benefit of others in Ontario and the world.

The wife of world renowned physicist and the father of attosecond science, Paul Corkum, smiled as she said to me, "We get to go along for the ride."

Yes, we do!

Ahead of the official announcement of this year's appointees, we were instructed to keep the information confidential, so not even our own children and their spouses, knew why we had asked them to take the day off work until they received their invitations in the mail. Our church family and our coworkers and friends, did not know until this week. Paul was asked to share a few words about the honour this morning to our faith family at Hillside Community Church. With his permission, I share his words here:

I have to say it was a sobering moment when I learned that the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, the honourable David C. Onley,  was inducting me into the Order of Ontario for my leadership in the social service sector and for the work in the First Nations community.
I have always wanted very much to help people with disabilities and those who are discriminated against, and ostracised, I believe it is a reflection of Christ’s love working through me that empowers me to reach out to the very people Jesus identified as important to his Kingdom. 
This award suggests that perhaps I have succeeded in some measure, however let me be clear this award is also one that belongs to Hillside and Christian Horizons as without the support and passion of my colleagues and brother and sisters I would not have had this recognition.
I am also very grateful to Belinda my wife, for her support over the years.
Although I feel very self-conscious about talking about this award, I am reminded that--


Susan said...

The award, which is richly deserved for Paul's contributions to the betterment of our society and the direct and indirect benefit to many, many disadvantaged individuals, is all the more significant, all the more beautiful for the humility with which it was received. What a testimony, what a legacy.

It's a blessing to have been a part of your lives, and even to be one of those people who have been the recipient of The Burstons' love and compassion through a very difficult period of our own lives. We rejoice with you in this. We love you guys so much...

Belinda Burston said...

Thank you for such beautiful words of friendship Susan. We love you too, and are thankful that we get to share the ride with you! :)

Dave Hingsburger said...

I echo Susan's words and add to them an expression I've never understood but seems to fit ... I'm tickled pink!

Belinda Burston said...

Dear Dave, "Tickled pink?" That is perfect. Thank you--and hugs.