Friday, June 04, 2021

Some Purple Garden Majesty

Well these little babies are back and seem pretty happy to have made it through winter. Unfortunately as yet they are the only colour, except for green, in the garden.

But I happen to think that this lavender or purple just goes well with the green.

Speaking of, the lilacs finally are beginning to blossom. Seems late this year but they are already much better than last years appearance of two small branches of purple, due to a bad winters frost. Our son-in-law, a tree guy, helped cut back the bush last fall, and now it is full of purple promise.

I expect you’ll see some here yet.

Thursday, June 03, 2021

Talking and listening (on the phone)

Time has been sneaking away during this pandemic and I'm noticing changes, especially aging in people I haven't seen for a while.

While my story hasn't been one of urgency, there are those who are losing contact either physically or mentally with those they love. Whoever that may be.

There is some good truth in this article. Not just about getting mom and dad to talk, but others as well. It takes work I suppose and depending on how private your friends or family may be, it may be a lot of work to accomplish. But I gotta believe there is value in it.

Anyway it's a good read. Check it out as you like.

Here's How I Get My Parents Talking on the Phone

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

John Donne died today 1572–1631

“Death, be not proud, though some have called thee Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so.” 

 “Lo,” preached the newly ordained minister, quoting the Book of Lamentations at the funeral of his wife, “I am the man that hath seen affliction.” Indeed, from the death of his father to his own, John Donne witnessed much affliction. 

The Black Plague was repeatedly sweeping through London—three waves during his 10-year tenure as dean of St. Paul’s Cathedral—killing tens of thousands with each recurrence. For months Donne thought himself a sure victim of the disease. 

Throughout his life, he withstood financial ruin, the destruction of his family, religious persecution, and other plagues. Yet, he became one of England’s greatest love poets, and one of the greatest preachers of the 1600s.

Certainly one of my favourite poets. He died at age 59.

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Who am I

Identity is something that is sort of imprinted in us by our DNA but we are also shaped by our surroundings. My DNA testing kit tells me one thing, but my mom, siblings, friends, spouse, and children have another part of the story to tell.

Boy that seemed to go deep kinda fast there, for Pete's sake, (apologies to Pete.) 

I am doing some internal processing of my identity, checking my present understanding of myself with my previous understanding. What to change, what to keep. Or better yet, what I like and what I may be wise to toss out, if I can toss.

Actually the point of this post was that I downloaded the Snapchat app. (See what I mean about going deep quickly?)

I downloaded the app for some of the fun with the filters and yeah, I had fun.

This one was called the Hipster Look Lens. 

Umm yeah, or I look like that guy from The Oak Ridge Boys. Either way, it's a stretch for me. If Covid has taught me anything its that I like my hair short.

This one is more of a sixties rock band manager look.

I appreciate what its trying to say, yeah baby, and my hair is grey enough. But it's the problem I always have wearing shades.  I already wear glasses and how cool do those people look who wear sunglasses over their prescription glasses?

Yeah, you know it.

So then I though what about clearing the land up there on top?

It's kind of what my brother, my younger brother I hasten to add, has to do. And it's kind of where my friend Toni is headed, at least it seems. So it's a look some of my best friends and family are sporting.

But alas I have been blessed with locks of hair. I expect I'll be ok with the receding hairline, and it will speed up my morning ablutions considerably, but why rush it.

So I land here. An older version of myself.

A few more pronounced wrinkles, probably more ear hair. Certainly whiter, which my barber Moe tells me we are moving quickly towards these days.

Mom says I look like my great grandfather, which I'm ok with certainly. He was a good looking fellow and in the photos I have from the sixties he's wearing a narrow tie, the style back then. (Yay grandpa)

I do kinda like this version of myself.  
Now, I understand that this is all on the outside, but if I can just keep the inside gentle and at some sense of peace, if I can not get bitter and angry in there, if I can age well in my spirit, I stand a chance of pulling this look off.

Or failing that, I can fight aging and go with the darker, hipster look.

Thursday, March 04, 2021

That's where I've been anyway.


Actually, that's a glimpse of a sunset, but you get my drift.

It's been really very dark around here for a while. I've been mostly keeping my head above the water, coping, trying to manage the details of life. But it hasn't been easy at all.

The new pressures of the work, the expectations and demands. And the dramatic decrease in the patience of people. The insistence by some to prop up a version of church that really is an empty shell. Is it for appearances sake? Or is it because that is all they know church to look like? The grace we used to offer one another has largely disappeared between some.

Then there are my own insecurities. My own fears and hurts, my own pain. The losses we've experienced ourselves in the past year of Covid. They are all there because I am who I am.

About a week ago out of left field it all came to a head, and its been darker than dark. Like dark dark. Since then its been one day is ok and the next isn't. This half of the day I can focus and the next I can't. It's been pretty bad.

I have been taking good steps though, to find the way through. Walking as I can when the physical pain is too much. Catching up on sleep, and eating again, mostly, (but don't ask herself.)  I've been seeing my Counsellor and sharing with others in my line of work who care and speak truth into my darkness.  I've got people who know how to pray praying for me, for us. I've got people I can be brutally honest with, thank God. There have been friends checking up on me and I've got Lauralea who's been in it all along with me.

I have been managing until last week and now looking back I can see that I have been limping a long, long  time. 

Today is a good day and the sun is up and the sky is blue. I don't know what tomorrow will hold but I'll just try to be present to this day now.

That's where I've been anyway.

Monday, February 15, 2021

Valentine Surprise

I had this lovely surprise presented to me by a ten year old girl from church. Her and her younger brother had made them for me for Valentines Day. It was a great surprise.

That’s one of the things I love about this work, being able to care for many different ages of people. I don’t think there’s an age group that I don’t enjoy pastoring.

I enjoy it when one of the elderly guys stops in at my study door to chat, maybe drop off some veggies sent by their wives. And I love it when some of the kid’s, like a seven year old did yesterday, comes and plops themselves on the chair in my study to chat.

We shoot the breeze but I know they are there to ask for something. Yesterday after a short talk about life, he got to the point and the point was to ask for a candy I keep for such occasions. I gave one to him and one for his brother.

Yup, sometimes it’s fun doing this work.

Thursday, November 19, 2020

The Cup Seems Half Empty Today

It’s funny how sitting at my desk working feverishly trying to get things done, and an old song comes on the radio and I’m filled with melancholy. (I should clarify that I have Christmas music playing on my radio so you know most of the songs are filled with memories anyway.)

It has been such a stressful season of life. People are less and less able to keep their frustrations and emotions under control. It’s just the stress of the time, and what it’s doing to our families and marriages and communities. I greatly fear what will happen to the morale of the general population if they are told they can’t celebrate Christmas with their Christmas traditions.

I’ve been living too long unable to catch up. I simplify and simplify as much as I can the work that I do, and it’s not enough. I wonder if we’re trying to do the old ministries in new ways, rather than just adjusting and doing new ministries in new ways. Whatever is going on beneath the surface, I am just, tired.

So a song comes on the radio that our children used to sing and I look over to my left where the pictures are on the shelf. I see the children, from babies through to adults, and I am so pleased with them. But I miss them, and I miss those simpler days. I don’t know how to get back there, and I suppose in that way, I am a little bit lost.

I know it’s been the year, and it’s absolutely been the stress and the work hours, I know it’s all that. I know that it looks like nobody will be home for Christmas. I know that Advent won’t be the same, I know that there won’t be the normal singing of the carols. I know I won’t see friends I normally see in church week by week.

I know all that, but suddenly it catches up to me, the emotion the sense of loss, the separation. It’s all there mixed in.

But I renew my focus and I keep going because I don’t know what else to do honestly. And being miserable won’t help me one bit. You absorb the loss as much as you’re able, and you add it to your history, a collection of the things you’ve lived through.

Yes back to work, I need a sermon for Sunday, and I need to record it on video by tomorrow. God I will need your help again this week, not just for sermons but for strength and hope as well.

This is going to be a very long, very short season.