Posts Tagged ‘abuse’

This is the third Friday I’ve been in my new home.  The third Friday that I’ve taken as a day off.  I have no desire to do anything and nowhere I really have to be.  But there are things I’d like to get done.

As I’ve been unpacking boxes I’m piling them in my kitchen.  Today I broke them all down and put them together for recycling.  The community bin is across the street, which makes this OH SO convenient.

My kitchen is ready save for a couple of small things.  I’ve been prioritizing wants from needs.  I’ve got everything I need for the kitchen.  There’s a few things I’ll obtain as I want them.  For example, casserole dishes.  I didn’t have any.  I really didn’t need any but was out one day and came across an incredible deal.  So know I have one that I purchased at 75% off.

I’m embracing a new attitude about “stuff”.  If it’s something I will use (more than once) and will enhance my life, I will obtain it. Otherwise, nope.  Don’t need it.

On my list still to obtain are a creamer and sugar basin for when I entertain, which I will be doing on Sunday.  An iron and ironing board.  Something I will be using, especially once I start home communions and will have linens to launder.

I am in need of new clergy shirts; the one’s I have are starting to come apart at the seams…granted, I have had them for 6 years.  But I’m waiting for a sale as they are EXPENSIVE.

I also need new bras.  The two I have are uncomfortable, too big and leave a weird line in my clothes.  Living where I do means there’s no easy access to buying them, so I’m beginning to look online.  Being a plus size gal makes it a tad more challenging.  But I will succeed.  I am determined!

Slowly I am mindful of a routine being established in my life.  I like routine, I like order and I am finding for the first time in a long time, I have both.  I work as hard as I ever did, and am mindful of myself and my needs.  If I’m tired, I rest.  If I’m hungry, I eat.  I’m still struggling with food addictions, and overall am making healthier choices most days.

There are times I abuse myself with food.  And I’m aware that I’m doing it.  It occurs infrequently and I am pleased that I can recognize that it’s happening.

So today I’m going to have a shower and get dressed.  Make my bed, go to the post office, drug store and grocery store, all of which I can walk to.  I’m going to go to the hardware store on the other side of town.  I could walk, but I’m going to drive.  And if I don’t get what I am looking for there, I will drive to the next largest community; an hour away.

There is nowhere I must be today and no commitment I must keep.  Today is a day just for me.  And I LOVE that.

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I am often asked why there are so many denominations if there is only one God. It’s not an easy question to answer. I suspect there are so many denominations, in part, because of national churches such as the Church of England (Anglican), the Church of Scotland (Presbyterian) etc., I also suspect it is in part because of disagreements between congregation members and the desire to be part of something that more fully reflects their specific beliefs.

I was asked recently by a young friend if Christianity would ever go back to being just Christianity; no separators, denominations or branches. After a time of thought, prayer and reflection I realised that it will likely never happen. And that saddens me.

It also saddens me that there are people who call themselves “Christian” but engage in extremely non-Christian behaviour. Christians who believe that they have all the answers, that the Bible is to be taken literally and then cherry-pick verses of the sacred story to be used as weapons. To me, that is not Christianity. To me, that is not what Jesus was about.

It is also worth mentioning that Jesus was not a Christian. He was a Jew who wanted the community to move away from their anxiety about keeping the law and move towards loving their neighbour. While I don’t know for certain, I suspect if Jesus could speak directly with us today he would be saddened by what he sees. I suspect the same of Peter. Peter was called the “rock” or the foundation for the Church. He tried to bring reforms about so that we could focus at being “in relationship” with each other instead of passing judgment and fearing the stranger. Novel idea, eh?

Many of us are familiar with the ten commandments. A list of rules, given to Moses from Mount Zion that were meant to show the community at the time how to live together peacefully. Moses brought the tablets down after spending time with God and discovered that the people had panicked that he was gone and had made a golden calf; directly in violation of one of the earliest commandments. In frustration Moses slammed down the tablets and broke them. So he had to go back to God and get another set.

The second set of tablets were put in a special place and we will often see the ten commandments painted in frescoes in the Church, or on a poster or post card. We may see them rendered in Hebrew, Greek, English or any other language. And for many of us ten commandments are too many to try and keep. It’s too much pressure.

Jesus grew up knowing this commandments and knowing the Levitical laws. Many of those laws were written for specifically the time in which they were written and no longer apply to the society of today. Jesus summarized these ten commandments into two: Love God above all else and love your neighbour as yourself. Nowhere does it say to vilify, hate and judge your neighbour. Nowhere does it say to discriminate against your neighbour. Jesus is about love. Plain and simple.

Except it’s not. Not even a little bit.

We can love our neighbour that looks like us, talks like us, thinks like us. But what about our drug-addicted neighbour? Our homeless neighbour? Our mentally or physically ill neighbour? What about the neighbour who hates us? What do we do about them?

We are entering the season of remembrance and the symbol of the poppy is one of the most poignant symbols around the world. It gives us a symbol to remind us of the horrors of war so we do not repeat the mistakes of the past. It gives us an opportunity to gather and remember those who laid down their lives, that we may know peace. It gives us the opportunity to give thanks to those who continue to fight for the voiceless, providing safety and security around the world.

I’m tired of denominational infighting. I’m tired of having to apologise for being a Christian because a few, radical, angry people have appropriated the word Christian and made it frightening.

It’s time to stand up, as Christians and say “Enough is enough”. It’s time for us to stand shoulder to shoulder, side by side and say Christianity is about love – first and foremost – it’s about love.

I truly believe THAT is what Jesus would do.

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Last week was a very emotional and very hectic week. I had three 12 hour work days in a row, accompanied by all kinds of driving into and out of the city. It seems I didn’t take the time to rest or eat properly and it threw off my physical balance in many ways.

I was at a meeting in the middle of last week, where I learned that a long-time friend and mentor had been charged with abuse, some of which dated back to 25 years ago. He is one of the reasons I became a priest and was a gentle and wonderful mentor for me. At this meeting he was named and I heard that more charges are forthcoming as his case comes to trial at the end of next month. I was devastated, to say the least. The individual who was speaking about him made no attempt to hide their hatred and contempt of him. I tried to speak a few times and could not find the words…so I left the room and went for a bit of a walk, went to the bathroom and splashed some cold water on my face, to keep from crying.

When I returned to the room there was an uneasy silence, as though someone had told the person who was mouthing off that I am close to the person who has been charged. The silence was deafening as I resumed by place at the table and the meeting continued. When the meeting concluded I made my apologies and left without staying for lunch. I needed some time to clear my head.

On the way home I started thinking of all the time my friend and I have spent together. Of the hugs and long conversations over tea. Of the invitations to come and stay with him and his wife, after I had left the community. He is a new grandfather. He is a father. He is a husband. A brother. A friend. When he was first charged I was in shock. To hear of subsequent charges saddened me. And now to hear that there are more charges again from 15 years ago makes my heart ache.

The ache is not so much about his guilt. I don’t know if he is guilty. And now, with this information about to go public through the trial, his life will never be the same. I pray to God that there has been a huge misunderstanding and he is not guilty of that which he has been accused. But whatever the outcome, in the eyes of society his is forever tainted and will never be remembered for the good he did. The good may be prefaced and then the charges mentioned. If his is guilty it will be front-page news. And if he is found not guilty he will be lucky to have a footnote somewhere.

Hearing about all of this also stirred up memories of my own childhood abuse. A subject I have dealt with and continue to deal with in healthier and healing ways.

It has been one of those weeks when I have had very little time to be alone with God. To be alone with my thoughts. And it has hurt. I attended a workshop on Saturday as part of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Canada and the Residential School Survivors. One of the members present was a Residential School Survivor and she shared her story. In the middle of the workshop I had to step out to inter the ashes of a man I had not met, but had gleaned some information from two of his friends. It was difficult to connect with the family as there had been some estrangement.

So here was me, feeling inadequate to the task of journeying with this family, and seeing many in the large crowd hold each other close. There were tears and some laughter and the stories began to be shared around the grave. When I returned to the workshop, they were in the middle of lunch and I was seated and presented with a piping bowl of homemade soup. When the day finished I went to visit with a young friend who is very pregnant (three days overdue and counting) and she is longing for company.

She has decided to raise her baby alone, with the help of her 11-year-old son and her close friends. We chatted for a while about how she is feeling and suddenly I realise she is reaching out to me and saying what a comfort I must have been to the family. “Be gentle with yourself” she told me…something I have said to her.

And as I drove home after an extraordinarily long day, knowing that Sunday was going to be equally long, I asked myself what I done for myself, lately. The answer is not enough.

This week is also a heavy week, but I am carving out time to do things for me. I will walk in the morning with the dogs. I will go out and get my hair done tomorrow. I will do the visits I need to do. I will stop and smell the roses as I go about my day. I will stretch and breathe and bend and laugh and play.

I will make time to be alone in the silence with the Creator. And I will find some peace in the silence as I pray for my mentor; for my friend and her healthy delivery; for myself and for my family.

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