Archive for January, 2013

I find it very interesting how weather can affect the mood of a group. This past Sunday was our annual meeting where the budget is presented as well as ongoing and upcoming projects.

We have experienced a changing of the guard as both Wardens and Deputy have changed, and yet, the council members are the same, simply with some in different roles than last year.

The weather was overcast and dreary and the mood of the room was subdued. We had a lot of good news to celebrate, but the energy didn’t seem to be there. The Holy Spirit was very present, but I think she was tired too.

Since then I’ve had two long days of driving to pick up my mother who hurt her hand and is need of someone to care for. So now my days are busy. They’re always busy, but this is a different busy because of elder care.

It’s interesting to be part of the ‘sandwich generation’ as I have a 12 year old daughter by marriage and a 76 year old mother. sometimes their care is the same, and at other times each is responsible for the other. Thanks be to God they like each other and enjoy each other’s company.

The past couple of days have been wet and rainy, very unusual weather for January in Southwestern Ontario. The church basement took on some water, as did the rectory basement, but no damage (at least it appears so).

Today is the kind of day where I have a lot to do, but don’t really feel like doing any of it. The elevator inspector is at the church and I have some administrative things to finish, paperwork to get together from our annual meeting.

I think, once this is done, that I’ll go home, make something for lunch and make out a grocery list. Then it may be bath time and an afternoon nap. These 12 hour days have been taking a toll, and I think the weather is Mother Nature telling me that it’s okay to rest my weary body.

Yoga tonight should help get the kinks out. But mostly a warm blanket, a cup of tea, and a chat with my mother. All good things.

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Christmas Eve

I promised I would post about Christmas Eve and this was certainly a memorable year. My Mam was visiting which made it that much more special. In the community where I live, the “Santa Parade” is only about four floats, including Santa, and it happens on Christmas Eve. It’s not likely a big deal for anyone but those of us who live here, but watching my Mam’s face as the parade went by was priceless. She was like a little child, face filled with awe and wonder. She had a sandwich in each hand and was yelling for the parade to wait for her as she ran to the front door.

Our 4:00 p.m. service is our Pyjama Mass and we’re getting more and more children each year. We had two new families join us and it was evident that about 10 minutes into the service, I had lost all control. Usually this causes me tremendous stress, but not at that service. It is the children’s service and they are in charge. We had a scavenger hunt, looking for the characters for the Nativity. Baby Jesus was found and the Holy Family was put in the crèche. The Wise Men were put at the back of the church to begin their journey.

We told stories, sang songs and celebrated communion. A child was in the arms of every adult present as we gathered around the communion table and shared in the Lord’s supper. I stopped frequently, deviating from the propers, to explain what was going on. The children raised their arms and their voices in prayer and praise. We shared the body and blood of Christ. And it was awesome.

Our 7:00 p.m. service was a service of family. There were only a few children with us (including twins who had been to the 4:00 p.m. service). We shared stories, a sacred meal and awaited the birth of the Christ Child.

By 11:00 p.m. I’m usually fading a bit and the energy level is definitely lower than the other two services. I was excited to see friends I’ve not seen for a number of years. I was excited to see parishioners who returned after a noted absence. And I was delighted to see two and three generations of family coming together, to worship on the most sacred night of the year.

A 6 year old boy called Ian came to church with his Dad. Why a young child would be at church at 11:00 p.m. on Christmas Eve is anyone’s guess, but I believe that God sent him. Ian helped me, with permission from his dad, to light the Christ candle in the Advent wreath. He decided to stay and hang out with me in the sanctuary and seeing our service through his eyes was astounding.

When it was time to proclaim the gospel, I asked Ian if he would hold the book for me. And he agreed. So I knelt down and shared the story of the birth of Christ, according to Luke. And it was awesome. Ian stood on a stool to watch as the meal was prepared. He helped me distribute communion, and at the end of the service he said he wanted to ask a question. I told him to go ahead. He stood up and said “What I wanna know is this…what would you rather have. Toys under the tree or Jesus”? Not a word was spoken.

I asked for a show of hands, and most folks wanted Jesus…some put up both hands. I said that was cheating.

I thanked God for Ian coming into our little parish church. I thanked God for the families who gathered to be with us. I thanked God for the strangers who had decided to bless us with their company. And I especially thanked God for the gift of Jesus, the greatest gift. Whether under a tree or anywhere else, the greatest gift, ever!

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I was always told if you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all. I’ve modified that somewhat in believing if you can’t say something useful, don’t say anything at all.

Christmas was awesome. I’ll write a post about that soon. Since Christmas I’ve been absolutely exhausted and not really wanted to do or write anything. The Narrator is still at work, the Narrator never takes a day off. And that’s okay.

I can tell my level of anxiety and wellness by what I hear the Narrator say. The Narrator comments on absolutely everything and most of the time I listen without acknowledgement. But every now and then The Narrator turns nasty. On me, of course, never on anyone else.

My husband, daughter, dog and I went to bring my mother home on the 27th of December, a 6 hour drive one way. We stayed two nights and came home. Over that journey I read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. I’ve never read it before. I’m not sure why I’ve never read it before. I found it quite profound. And now I better understand The Narrator.

There are some who would say that because I hear voices (and really, it’s only one voice) I should seek immediate, psychological help. The truth is, The Narrator often comforts me. Especially in the middle of the night, when I can’t rest. I can listen to The Narrator until I fall asleep.

I know I struggle with depression and thus with mental illness. I don’t “enjoy” it as some bumper stickers blithely state. There are times I suffer through it. And there are times I feel a brilliant clarity in it. But it’s always there.

Very few people know of The Narrator. And now, you should count yourself among the fortunate (maybe) because you know about it too. The voice is neither male or female (kinda like God). Maybe The Narrator IS the voice of God. I don’t think I rank high enough or are holy enough for that kind of intimacy with God.

Some people who do know of The Narrator ask me if I want it to go away. And the reality is, I don’t. What The Narrator says helps me understand how “well” I am. Sometimes I joke with The Narrator. Other times I cry with or because of The Narrator. And I think if the voice stopped, I would panic. And feel very much alone.

There are times when I need to say something, and times when it’s better I say nothing. Right now I’m wavering between the two.

I hope to post more in the future, on a more regular basis. I won’t make any promises, because I don’t like to break promises. There will be a post about Christmas and about the most awesome New Years Eve wedding. But those will be for another day.

I hesitated about whether or not to share about The Narrator. And I decided that today was the day. In reality, I think most of us have a Narrator or some voice that tells us the difference between good and evil, the difference between right and wrong. Mine has a title. Not a name.

Do you have one? And if so, is there a name?

And if you don’t have one…you don’t know what you’re missing. 🙂

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