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Archive for November, 2013

This seems to be the regular mode of Saturday as of late. If I’m not rushing around to appointments, and actually have unscheduled time, I find myself feeling anxious as I move from one event to another, one activity to another. Saturday Morning Monkey Mind.

I’ve checked and my meds have all been taken as are most effective. I have fed and watered the dogs. I have eaten. I have dishes soaking in the sink and today I pulled out everything that has been purchased for Christmas and started wrapping. Well, I should explain, this year “wrapping” consists of shoving said object into a gift bag, tufting in some tissue paper and calling it a day. I knew I had tissue paper, but couldn’t remember where.

So, while I was trying to remember where it was, and pulling out boxes and bags of “stuff” I decided to regain control of the broom cupboard in the kitchen.

I told you, Monkey Mind.

I sorted through nearly 100 plastic bags. The ones for the grocery store are going back to the grocery store. The ones for the card store are going back to the card store. The other ones have been flattened and put together for the clothing distribution so folks will have something in which to carry home their treasures.

The dishes are still waiting. A cold cup of coffee is under the coffee maker. The table is looking much better, but still not empty. I feel very anxious and can’t put a finger on it.

I am meeting my brother and his family as well as my Mam and her best friend to celebrate my birthday today. I am picking my Mam’s best friend up at noon as we are meeting at 12:30. After that I have choir practice in the city. I am looking forward to choir practice.

Tomorrow is the first of Advent and we are having our annual Lessons & Carols service. Which reminds me, I need to print out the Presidential order of service. And it’s Men’s Breakfast so I have to find the TED Talk with Karen Armstrong.

I should have a shower and get dressed. My beloved and I are going out for dinner tonight to celebrate my birthday.

I slept like crap last night…and woke way too early this morning.

Anyway, it’s time to finish something…starting with this. 🙂

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One of the dangers of being a food addict is the holiday season. Everywhere you go there’s something to try. “Oh, just have one” they say and I break into a sweat. I want to eat the whole plate, but it’s better if I don’t eat any, so I politely refuse. Sometimes that leads to guilt so I’ll agree to have one, then two, then, well, you know how it ends.

Or I will refuse politely, then come home and eat two chocolate bars. Ugh.

This is a tricky time of year, psychologically and emotionally, before we get into any of the “fun” stuff of the holidays. Everywhere you go there’s overlit, too loud, hypercaffeinated places that raise your heart rate to buy me, eat me, love me, take me home. And if you refuse, then you’re a bad person.

So I guess I’m a bad person.

With being so tired as of late, I have no impulse control. I asked my beloved to do the grocery shopping and I know I shouldn’t…because he brings home crap. Which I eat. Yes, it’s my fault that I put that thing in my mouth that I shouldn’t but…well…the truth is, I want it.

I have stopped looking at magazines for Christmas cookie ideas because I know, if I bake them, I’ll eat them…all of them.

I should get outside and walk the dogs. But I’m scared of slipping as it’s quite slick underfoot. I should go to the walking track and spend an hour there. But I don’t. I should pull out my yoga mat, breathe and stretch. But I don’t.

Instead, when I’m having difficulty coping, I go to bed. Most of the time I sleep, so obviously I am overtired. But when am I going to feel well enough to care for myself? Nobody is going to do it for me. I have to do it myself. And I will. Eventually.

*sigh*

What I need is a week in Bermuda. Am I going to get it? Not likely, at least not for awhile. I am, however, committed to taking 5 or 6 days in January and going on retreat. To a place where the food is good and healthy. Where there are no demands. Where I can bring my yoga mat and stretch. And journal. And cry.

I know I could do that here. But there’s always something else that’s more pressing. There’s always one more email to send, one more webpage to read, one more article that needs posting. I need to make myself a priority. I am cooking healthier meals and enjoying it. Today I’m going to attempt beef stew in the slow cooker.

Right now I feel muddled up. I know I should take better care of my body. Who takes care of me if I don’t? Nobody. So if nobody takes care of me, why should I bother? Counterintuitive I know, but real nonetheless.

We had a discussion about Christmas a couple of months back. We agreed that we will not go into debt for Christmas. We cut back the list dramatically. And nearly all the shopping is done. That makes me feel really good.

One day next week I am going to sort through the bags in the spare room and start wrapping. That will feel like accomplishment. I may even bring some things out and start decorating for Christmas/Winter. I’m not sure about a Christmas tree with the pup, but we’ll see.

What I need to do is shake off the cobwebs of guilt and shame. I need to stop beating myself up about what I have done and look forward, instead, to what I will do. To be intentional in everything I do, whether it be eating, speaking, washing, dressing, praying, stretching.

And I need a good cry.

And maybe a nap.

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Worldwide, the 20th of November has been designated as Transgender Day of Remembrance. In 2013, 238 people were murdered because they were transgender. It is estimated that only 1/4 to 1/3 of murders in the trans* community are reported because of family issues, homelessness among the community, etc. Many trans* people live in “stealth”, meaning their family and friends may not know that they are transitioning, especially at the beginning.

Last night I attended an event in the City that was very well attended. There were many trans* people who I had met before and some I met for the first time. It was humbling to be called Ally to a group who are so dynamic and amazing, despite persecution, hate crimes and other indignities that they endure, almost every day.

As I heard the twenty names who were read and the horrific ways they were mutilated and murdered I felt a massive ache in my chest. How must it feel to live in state of fear, simply because you are trying to live your life with integrity?

There is still so much ignorance which exists in the world. Relatively speaking, Canada is a “safer” place to live and yet I have witnessed discrimination and ignorant remarks thrown at my trans* friends. It brings out the Mama Bear in me when I witness discrimination, and yet my friends preferred to either ignore the comment or leave the place where we were, to not draw any further attention to themselves.

For the love of all that is good and holy, we live in the 21st Century. We live in a place and time where we should be free to live as God has intended us to live. Where does it say that love is wrong? Where in scripture is it written that we are meant to live our lives in fear because of who God sends for us to love? NOWHERE, THAT’S WHERE.

I feel humbled and honoured to be an ally to a community where I have been welcomed with open arms. At every gathering there is laughter, hugs, smiles, tears, love and trust.

At the gathering last night the keynote speaker talked about the power of hope and how we cannot have hope without love.

I have said in this blog on more than one occasion, that I believe we can change the world, with love.

The time has come to eliminate hate with love. To silence the voices of hate with non-violent reactions of love. It won’t happen over night, but if we work together, by God, it will happen.

There was a 5-year old girl present, wearing a fabulous sparkly pride headband and she was mesmerizing. When the band was playing, she was riveted. When she heard the keynote speaker, she sat up on her Mom’s knee so she could see better. She is the reason we need to lean towards love. She is worth it and if we follow her, she will teach us what love is truly about.

No child is born knowing how to discriminate, or how to hate. Children are born free of all those things that can tangle us up. At what point do we start with filters and assumptions? Why does it have to be that way?

Today I have worn purple as a sign of respect to those men and women in the trans* community who have lost their lives, simply because they were living their lives with integrity. It shocks and saddens me how brutal we can be against one another. It makes me weep for the future of humanity.

And then I see a beautiful little girl and I hope that she will love us enough to teach us the way. That when she is my age, she will be able to tell her children about what TDoR stands for, and how we don’t have to do them anymore because society has evolved enough to focus on love and hope. She will be able to remind her children of the lessons we need desperately to learn. So the mistakes of the past will not be repeated.

Speak peace, have hope, live in love.

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In my last post I shared just how off the rails I feel. There was something close to a miracle that occurred. My motivation came back. And I suspect, it was in no small way due to my husband realising that the house was in a state and he needed to do his part. He told me, on Sunday, that he was going to vacuum and wash the upstairs floors because he saw that they needed it.

I had made up my mind that I was going to clean/scour/disinfect the bathrooms…which I did. He not only cleaned the floors in the bedroom, he rearranged the furniture. I was excited. We washed the bedding, and the duvet cover, changed the duvet cover, and took a break at the half way mark. We went into the city to buy a new shower curtain and bath mat. Came home with two great bargains, as well as birthday presents for my nephews whose birthdays are in December and January.

Rejuvenated I hung the shower curtain, which has brightened up the bathroom, put down the new mat and marvelled at how everything was gleaming. I should have taken before and after pictures, but the feeling of accomplishment was significant. The downstairs bathroom is also our laundry room so it regularly takes a beating. The sink and toilet have been scrubbed and disinfected and are gleaming. I need to take down the curtains and wash them, but that won’t be for another couple of weeks at least. I need to take down the curtains in our bedroom and do the same, but again, not for a while.

The kitchen floor needs washing, but it’s been raining and miserable, and with two dogs there’s not much point. So it will get done later in the week. The mop stands at the ready.

Overall, I feel like I’ve turned a corner. My thoughts are more positive and my days feel much more productive. I went to a PFLAG meeting last night in the city and met a young woman who has been damaged by the Church. She allowed me to hold her hands while I reminded her that she is a beautiful child of God, created by God, and she is nothing short of perfection. She wept and gave me a hug. And I think she believes me, which is even more powerful.

I am shocked and saddened by how many people discriminate against a brother or sister because of their sexual orientation. It’s as irrational as discriminating about eye colour or nose size. It’s ridiculous. And yet so many people have been damaged by words spoken, supposedly from love, but in reality from hate. And it’s my job to speak against it.

That young woman and I walked out together. She was feeling much more positive than when she arrived. She felt like she part of something bigger, which, she is. And she is going to work on her relationship with God according to her new-found, newly re-discovered faith; not the faith that was used to hurt her. We are going to meet for coffee to discuss the Bible and theology. I’m looking forward to that. To finding out how she sees the Bible and helping her to find passages that are filled with beauty, not used as weapons of hate.

Today is a busy day with a Clericus meeting about half an hour away. Tonight is the Transgender Day of Remembrance that will be life-changing.

So, today, is a good day. Thanks be to God.

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I received an email from my best friend that contained the words “slow down before you hit a wall at 200 mph”. She was right, as always and I knew what she was saying, even before she said it.

My eating style is completely derailed.

My anxiety issues are reaching peak.

I am angry and miserable…to the point I can barely stand myself.

I feel like I am sliding backwards and there is no way to stop it.

You can usually tell the state of my mental health by how clean my house is. When I am well, I keep up with the dog hair, nose art, dishes, floors, bathrooms, common areas, etc. The floors have not been washed in weeks. The bathrooms have not been cleaned, especially the toilets, in weeks. And the worst part of all of this is…I don’t care.

The reality of the world I live in is this…if I don’t do it, it doesn’t get done. The state of the house does not matter to either my husband or daughter. When I get frustrated he tells me to leave it. So I have been…and nothing is getting done.

Changing topic ever so slightly…Halloween.

I despise Halloween. I don’t like the commercialism of it. I don’t like how it’s a candy grab for kids. I especially don’t like the amount of garbage that comes into this house. Because I know, if I can see the goodies, I will eat them. Even though I know they are made of additives, preservatives and other unpronounceable ingredients.

There are three large buckets laden with candy, chips, chocolate, gum, etc. And I cannot walk by them without eating something. I know I shouldn’t, but I can’t seem to stop myself. I have eaten more garbage food over the past three weeks, then I have in the last six months. And I feel the difference.

We have healthy food in the fridge, but instead we ate Halloween candy for supper. And I am furious with myself.

I think a good part of which is wrong with me is that my system cannot process what is being fed into it and I’m feeling tired, achy, miserable, because I’m going to have to detox again…and that is a very difficult process for me.

I have not yet cried for Baby H and for R. I should cry for them. I loved them both. And yet, the tears won’t come. Part of me is afraid then when the time comes and I do let go…I may not be able to regain control. And anyone who knows me, knows that control is important to me.

Next week I am going to be out Monday night, Tuesday night, Wednesday night and Thursday night. I don’t know what meals are going to look like, but I am hoping to get to the grocers and the market to get all of what is needed for pasta sauce, perhaps even make some soups ahead of time, that they can simply be reheated.

There are so many things that need to be done. The house needs cleaning, badly. I need to put a bunch of stuff away. I need the rest of the family to do the same.

But right now, I need to go and lie down. If I don’t sleep, at least I will be resting.

Tomorrow is another day.

Hopefully my motivation comes back.

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The past few days have been extremely emotional – on the verge of horrendous.

Last Thursday the Church was packed to overflowing as we gathered to celebrate the life of R. A man well-loved and never forgotten. He was 85 years old and died from ALS. He had a full and rich life, serving his country, his community. Marrying his sweetheart for 48 years and raising two sons. He was, as the Bible says, “old and filled with days”.

His Celebration of Life was, indeed, a Celebration. The Church was filled with gales of laughter as we remembered what a practical joker R was, and how he always found a way to make us laugh.

When the Church service ended, I went to the Cemetery while some folks from the Church tidied up. By the time I returned from the Cemetery the Church was locked up tight…with my keys and cell phone inside. It was one more practical joke from R. For the record, I did get back in the Church, about three hours later. And it is a story I will remember and will always laugh as I tell it.

Sunday was our Remembrance Sunday service at the Church. There was a wreath that had stayed from R’s Celebration of Life. We have a white styrofoam cross that we pin poppies to after Communion to change an instrument of hate and destruction into an instrument of peace and love.

During my homily I told the story of my Grand-dad whom I have never met. He was wounded in the First World War and suffered for the rest of his life from neurological issues. He married his sweetheart and had three children, one of whom became my Mam. But he was always a broken man.

I also told the story of two friends of mine. A clergy couple out on the East Coast of this Country. She is a priest in Halifax, and he serves as Chaplain aboard HMCS Toronto. Theirs is a love-story for the ages; a testament to their faith, love and commitment to each other, and to God.

Sunday afternoon we gathered to say goodbye to Baby H. The Church was filled with young people in shock, sobbing uncontrollably and looking for answers. A few members of the Congregation came to offer their prayers and support to the family; as well as to seek peace and comfort themselves. In short, there was a Church filled with people looking for answers.

It felt like they were all looking at me.

I had nothing.

No words. I tried my hardest to write an authentic homily, but everything I tried sounded hollow and unconvincing. “He’s in the arms of Jesus”. Yes, but he should be in his mother’s arms.
“He’s gone home to be with the One who Created him.” Yes, but he should have gone home to his brother.

For the love of God, he was 28 DAYS OLD. Not enough time to learn to speak, never mind have a full life and die “old and filled with days”. Children are not supposed to die before their parents. It’s not fair. It’s not right.

And then it struck me.

I didn’t have to say anything. My words would not be the salve that would soothe. The Community would extend their heartfelt support to each other.

At Baby H’s baptism I brought a candle, the intention of which was to light it when he got better and went home. He didn’t get better so the candle remains unlit. As I began the service on Sunday I lit a new baptism candle from the paschal candle (which signifies new life) and let it burn through the service and during the reception.

The readings were all chosen because they dealt with children, commissioning and being still in the silence. God wasn’t making an appearance in the machinery beeping and chiming. God wasn’t making an appearance in my raging against the wind and the pain. God was in the stillness, where God always is; and I needed to remind myself, as well as the Congregation; that sometimes we need to simply ‘be still’ and be in the presence of the Sacred.

As usual I wasn’t wearing shoes. I had intended to mention why before the service began, but forgot. Several people asked me about it afterwards and I told them why. They nodded as though they understood.

Today was Remembrance Day, one day after Baby H’s funeral.

The weather was horrible, it was cold, wet and sleeting. The crowd huddled together, comprised of men and women, young and old, children and seniors. Umbrellas covered strangers and friends, and we united to Remember those who laid down their lives, those who returned wounded, those who served and continue to serve in the Armed Forces.

We laid a wreath at our small town service for LGBT Members of the Armed Forces, past and present. The wreath had a rainbow ribbon on it and the purple sash said “Lest We Forget”. Poignant words indeed.

So much loss over the past while.

So much pain.

So much emptiness.

So much fatigue.

And so tonight, as I work far too late, I look out the window at the snow that is gently falling. I have just eaten something that I know I will feel badly about in the morning, but right now I need comfort.

Tomorrow is going to be a quiet day. I will return the house to order. I will do some computer work. I will nap. I may not even get dressed. And let today be a snow day. A Sabbath Day.

The title of this post is When Words Fail, but I’ve written nearly 1,000 of them.

I think, what it all boils down to, is being brave enough to be authentic. Of being caring enough to be vulnerable. Of being human enough to feel and to show those whom you serve all of these things.

We may not have the magic words. We likely have the same questions as you.

We may not have the answers. But we do have each other.

Thanks be to God.

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The Baby we have been praying for has died. I said it. Out loud. Now it’s real. He was 28 days old. We baptised him at 23 days old, praying fervently for a miracle. But no miracle was realised.

It would be easy to blame God, to blame the Life Force, whatever your higher power or balance of energy is called. It would be easy. But it’s not right. To assign blame to God is to make God appear like a cruel bastard. If I pray enough, hard enough, long enough, enough, enough, enough, the baby will get better. It doesn’t work that way.

When H came into our lives, it was only for a short while. WHY he came into our lives is a matter of debate and discussion. Yes, right now I am quite angry with God. I have shouted at Jesus. I have flipped off the Holy Spirit. But I have not (yet) cried.

On Sunday afternoon at 2:00 pm we will gather to Celebrate the Life of one so small…tiny, helpless and perfect.

Between now and then I have a Legion service for a much-loved member of the congregation who succumbed to ALS last Saturday. His Church service is on Thursday morning, and the OPP Superintendent and Chief Commissioner will be present.

While it is sad that R has died, he was 85 years old. The Bible would say that he is “old and filled with days” so that gives us some comfort. But what about H?

28 days is nowhere near a lifetime. And there are those who would say that in God’s time 28 days is an eternity. And I would tell them, I believe them to be mistaken. It’s not long enough…nowhere near long enough.

And when I stop raging I realise that H was sent to us to teach us. From him I have learned determination, patience, dignity, hope, joy and especially I have learned love.

I have no idea what I am going to say at his Celebration of Life. I believe I will simply open my heart and let the Holy Spirit take over. Because there doesn’t seem to be anything useful I can say. I want to scream and shout. I want to pitch things and throw up my hands. But that serves nothing. And leaves me a large mess to clean up.

So I pray. I sit in the stillness and peace. And I let go.

I know the tears will come. And when they come they will not stop for a long time.

So for now I sit in the tension of the stillness and pray that I have the strength and find the strength to do what needs to be done; to say what needs to be said. Not only for H, but for R and for the rest of the congregation.

“O Lord, Open thou our lips.
And thy mouth shall show forth thy praise.
O God make speed to save us.
O LORD make haste to help us.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.
As it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen”.

Amen indeed.

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