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Archive for May, 2021

I am having difficulty wrapping my head around the news of the remains of 215 children being found behind a former Indian Residential School in Kamloops. Yesterday, after I finished my sermon for Trinity Sunday I went for a walk in one of my favourite places and listened for the sound of the wind.

As a settler and a priest in the Church I feel deep shame that there were children taken from their parents and forced to speak a language they did not understand. They lost their culture, their language and their traditions. Many families were devastated. And that trauma has proven to be generational. Addiction, suicide, depression, a myriad of other symptoms and illness related to trauma.

I cannot find the words to express how I am feeling, other than profound shame.

I cannot figure out how to shut off my brain so I can rest.

I do not know what to do to make amends and to express my outrage and grief.

215 children.

430 parents who were told God knows what about their child’s death? Were they told at all?

860 grandparents who were denied the opportunity to share their language and culture. To impart the stories of their families to ensure those children would become knowledge and language keepers.

Countless siblings and relations who were unable to grieve.

And so, what do we do?

What can we do?

I feel heartsick, but I do not know if I have the right to feel that way, as a settler.

I received a letter from the Reverend Murray Pruden, the National Executive Minister for Indigenous Ministries and Justice with the United Church of Canada. In it was a prayer he wrote.

We give thanks for this day and each day you grant us life to walk on this great land, our Mother.
Give us the heart and strength to come together in prayer in time of mourning, reflection and peace.
The news we have heard these last few days of our relations, families, the children who have been
physically taken away from us and have now been found.
And with this news, we grieve for their memory, for their struggle, for their spirit.
We pray for good understanding, guidance and love for all our families and communities who will need the direction and resolution at this time.
And we come together in prayer and ask for your light to guide us to be a part of that needed peace, support and resolve for everyone who is reacting to this great tragedy in our Indigenous Nations of this great land.
Creator be with us, allow us to be brave. Allow us to be strong. Allow us to be gentle to one another.
Allow us to be humble. But most of all, allow us to be like the Creator’s love.
Peace be with us, we lift up our prayers to you. In love, trust and truth, peace be with us all. In Jesus name. Amen.

Reverend Murray Pruden, National Executive Minister for Indigenous Ministries and Justice, United Church of Canada

We now know of the 215 lost children. I struggle to grasp that there may be more children that we do not yet know found in mass graves behind other former Indian Residential Schools.

Why, dear God, why?

215 children

I need to re-read the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. There is more that I can do. I want to engage my Parish and teach about the horror of residential schools, as I suspect, there are many who do not know the history of the I.R.S. and the Church’s roll in that atrocity.

A few years ago I watched “Children of God”, a musical written about a Residential School in Northern Ontario. Corey Payette was the driving force behind Children of God, in writing both the music and dialogue for “Children of God”. At the beginning of the evening, before the show officially started, several school-aged children came up and introduced themselves in English and in Ktunaxa…a language which was on the verge of being lost, but thanks to the language keepers, it has been preserved and is being taught once again.

At the end of the show the actors are singing Gimikwenden Ina “Do you remember” a haunting song. During the show a young girl is raped and is forced to endure an abortion. The shame she feels for the dishonour brought to her family forces her to take her life. In singing Gimikwenden Ina, this young woman is sung to the next life. She appears at the edge of the stage, dressed in red and as the song is sung, she moves towards the front of the stage and out the side stage door. By this point the entire audience is standing, holding hands and singing the chorus of the song repeatedly. Tears unabashedly streaming down our faces – emotions mixed and raw.

The past two days I’ve been listening to music from Children of God. And I break open. I want to cry, to release the emotions I cannot quite express, but as of yet I am unable.

I encourage you to watch this and let the raw emotion wash over you.

Think of those 215 children with whom the Creator has remained.

Those 215 children who can now rest in peace.

The families of these 215 children who will never know why.

The Vancouver Art Gallery had a display of 215 pairs of children’s shoes as a memorial for the 215 children found. Other makeshift memorials have been set up across Canada. Flags have been lowered to half-mast.

It is something. But is it enough?

Blessed and Wise Creator, ignite the anger in me, to act. Help me to learn what to do and how to do it to keep the message of the cultural genocide known, so those atrocities will never again be repeated. Teach me what to do with my shame and my guilt.

Gimikwenden Ina – I will remember.

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I have been talking to myself a lot lately. Usually when I talk to myself repeately, it means it’s time to update my blog. I just realised that I haven’t written since February. Where to start?

My little white Nissan, Melody, was hit by a snowplough. She was parked across the street as I couldn’t park in the parking lot (the snow was being cleared). The plough driver was coming around a corner and didn’t lift up the blade enough. Shattered the back windscreen, the two driver’s side windows, sheared off the drivers side mirror and gouged all along the driver’s side. I don’t believe I would have survived the accident if I’d been in my car.

At any rate, with some back and forth with the provincial insurance company and the city, I received a payout that more than covered the car loan. Excellent. For two weeks I was debt free! I then debated about whether to apply for another car loan as I had found a used car, excellent deal, online. I wasn’t sure if I wanted a car loan or a line of credit.

I have struggled with my finances most of my adult life. I couldn’t figure out why I was in my fifties and losing sleep about retirement, etc. Then I found K. Kenneth Davis, also known as “The Trans Capitalist“. He wrote an e-book, “The Money Talk” which, seriously, changed my life. It helped me understand that my ideas of financial success and freedom were outdate and were wrong for me. Check this man out. Seriously. You can find him on Instagram and Facebook.

I decided to apply for a line of credit, so I could use that once my “new-to-me” car “Hope” is paid for. It may come in handy when the time comes to buy that cargo van! I was approved for the line of credit ALL BY MYSELF, and “Hope” has come home to me. I’ve been picking up things here and there for her to make her into a micro-camper for days off and vacations. More on her in another post.

I’ve started simplifying my life. I started with my kitchen. I had too many gadgets that seemed like a fabulous idea, but were never used. I had way too many drinking glasses. I had wine glasses and I no longer drink alcohol. So they have been donated. I still have one very fancy heavy-duty wine glass that use to drink my sparkling water, when I’m feeling fancy. Most of the time I drink it straight from the Soda Stream bottle.

I’ve donated most of my shoes. I have five pairs left, three pairs of boots (one pair of winter boots, one pair of rain boots, and one pair of dressy boots. I pared down my handbags. I pared down my luggage. I continue to pare down my clothes. I took a swoop through my closet this weekend and I think I’ll be doing it again in about a month.

I read an article about a woman who wore the same dress for 100 days. At first I thought it was kind of gross, but the more of the article I read, I began to understand why. I have clothes in my closet for “just-in-case” purposes. I haven’t worn them in years. I have a number of blazers, all of which I like, but only wear about half.

Where is it written that we can’t wear the same ensemble over and over? I mean, truthfully, I do wear the same outfits over and over. When I do buy clothing it’s usually to replace something that has worn out or no longer fits. There are a few things I have learned through this pandemic. One of which is, I am NEVER AGAIN wearing a garment with a fitted waist. No thank you.

At any rate, I’m not striving to be a true minimalist, rather, I am striving to have a simpler, less-cluttered life. I want to be surrounded by things that are useful and also things that are beautiful…things which bring me joy.

I will put blogging into my calendar so I am more regular at doing so. There’s some interesting things happening with Sir Vincent, including an ongoing debate about whether or not it’s acceptable to stand in my ear to see out the window in the middle of the night. Sometimes multiple times! I sleep on my side, hence, he stands on my head, his paw in my ear.

Anyway, do please check out K. Kenneth Davis, The Trans Capitalist. He may well do for you, what he did for me. Buy his e-book and take a long, loving look at your finances. Maybe you’ll decide, like I did, that I don’t need more money, I need less stuff. I don’t need a big house to call a home, I can create a home on wheels. Etc.

I had the opportunity to talk to Kenneth about money. I was a total geeky fangirl when he approached me to talk about my reactions to his e-book. We were having a fabulous conversation about shame and money when technology failed. Isn’t that ALWAYS THE WAY? So, I’m hoping we can chat more about that. He has given me the confidence to understand that it’s never too late to learn about money, and budgets, and debt, and savings, and expectations.

For that, and for him, I am incredibly thankful.

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