Posts Tagged ‘blessing’

My “tradition” since I moved West has been to take two weeks and explore closer to home, then to fly to Ontario and visit family/friends. This year, the first two weeks of vacation I spent visiting doctors and specialists. I visited some friends who live close by and spent time cleaning my flat and resting. It was not ideal, yet it was what I needed.

In August I flew back to Ontario. This year was different. I decided not to schedule every moment of every day. I decided to visit only those people I truly wanted to, especially folks I haven’t visited in many years…even before I left Ontario. I didn’t rent a car, instead I used the train to move from one place to another and it was wonderful.

When I lived in Ontario I used the train quite regularly. Where I live now there isn’t a passenger train service and I find myself longing for it.

I spent time with my brother and sister-in-law and two nephews. They are old enough now I can tell them embarrassing stories about their dad (being 8 years older has it’s advantages).

I went to Church the first Sunday I was away with a very good friend of mine. Back in 2014 when I was dealing with a mental and physical health issue that meant I was off work for a month, I drove to his community every Sunday for worship. It was life-giving to be with a group of people providing support, and having absolutely no idea that they were doing it.

My friend picked me up at the hotel where I was staying at an ungodly hour and we went to three services together. I heard him preach the same homily three times, twice at one church, once at another. And it was a marvellous homily. He invited me to con-celebrate with him, which was very powerful. And at my request he blessed and anointed me in the midst of his congregation as I await test results. It was a very powerful moment in which I physically felt the power and love of the Holy Spirit moving through him and the congregation.

The second Sunday I was staying with dear friends, one of whom first recognized a call to service. It was because of his gentle nudges that I tested the call to be a priest. He had not shared communion in four years because of many reasons and it was a tremendous honour to celebrate with he and his lovely wife. Needless to say, we were all in tears by the end off the service. We met outside, used a piece of bread and some red wine left over from the previous night’s dinner. we lit a candle, settled into lawn chairs and worshipped God in God’s creation. It too was a very powerful moment where the Holy Spirit blew through our gathering, gently and lovingly.

I spent time listening, walking, laughing and loving.

I taught my grandson and grand-daughter how to build and successfully light a campfire.

I enjoyed shenanigating with friends.

I spent time in the arms of one I have loved for a long time.

I said goodbye to the old and hello to the new. I disposed of things which no longer bring me joy in order that I can be prepared to receive the good that is yet to come.

I left home feeling anxious and exhausted. I returned home feeling grateful, refreshed and mostly well-rested.

I’m toying with the idea of driving to Ontario next summer, taking a full month of vacation and taking my time…stopping at the Museum of Human Rights in Winnipeg etc., on the way. I may even see if I can convince a certain someone to drive back with me and explore my corner of creation with me.

I ate well, slept well, laughed until it hurt, cried until it stopped hurting, spent time outside, watched a movie, did some laundry, got a tattoo (tree of life between my shoulder blades) and generally, had the best time.

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It is my tradition that on Good Friday black stones are given to the congregation.  They are invited to hold them in their hands and reflect on the last year.  Things we’ve done that we shouldn’t.  Things we should have done but didn’t.  Same for things spoken.  Every year I hold my stone throughout the service, usually holding it in my hand while I preach.  This year I didn’t do that.  I set it down at my seat and left it there.

During the service and the silence I was reflecting on how much has changed in my life over the past year.  Leaving my marriage, my home, my congregation and begin life again in a different place – a different province.

Today before I set my back stone down I kissed it.  And when I set it down I felt a large burden lift.  A burden of guilt, of shame, of self-loathing.  A burden of feeling I’m not good enough, thin enough, smart enough, simply not enough.  I may not an athlete or supermodel.  I may not the beautiful or even pretty. But I am who God made and I live the commandments by which God created me – to love God and to love my neighbour as myself.

I am enough.  I am me.  There’s only one me…and I’m good at that.  I’m a good priest, who is unabashedly in love with the LORD and who wants to be a beacon of light in a dark world.  I’m not anything special or incredible.  But I am me…and that is enough.

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I’m down to the final four boxes of stuff to unpack.  The pottery survived the shipping and every piece was in tact.  Same with the oil lamps and lantern.  I was quite pleased.

My traveling companion told me once I started putting art on the walls and my own things on the shelves this house would begin to feel like home.  And she’s right.

In the end I shipped 12 boxes of books and 8 boxes of “stuff” that wouldn’t fit in my car.  I wasn’t sure what I had shipped, I was in such a state on moving day.  But everything arrived and I’m slowly finding a home for every thing.  There were some things I wanted to bring but didn’t have time or space, so I left them behind.  So far when I’ve looked for something that I thought I brought but didn’t, I’m wistful for a moment and then the moment passes.

I have collected some interesting pieces of art over the years.  A couple of them were gifts, a few I’ve bought myself and others I’ve collected along the way.  Today I spent time hanging things on the walls of the house and making it feel more like home.  I arrived with no furniture of my own, and a fully furnished house.  Even the bedding was provided for me, which was amazing.  A friend and colleague made me a quilt which adorns my bed.  I have a rainbow blanket that was given me by a friend and it also graces my bed.

A snuggly blanket I bought in late November hangs on the back of the chesterfield and I wrap it around myself on chilly evenings.

Today was a rainy, overcast day.  I spent most of the morning at ICBC getting my car registered, arranging for new license plates, and vehicle insurance.  I mailed my Ontario plates back to Service Ontario and am anticipating a cheque which will help offset the cost of registering in British Columbia.  After attaching the BC plates to my car I decided to run a few errands in the village where I now live, then filled the car with gas (the cheapest it’s been since I arrived here) and headed for the next closest community – an hour away.

It is a larger community and thus has a shopping mall filled with stores that we do not have locally.  I had a list and did quite well, and when I got home I started putting my purchases away and clearing off the dining room table.  It is now adorned with a dark brown round tablecloth and grass green round placemats.  My plan is to keep the table clear of “work” and wrangle that in the office.

Feeling motivated I hung my favourite piece of artwork on my bedroom wall, above the dresser, where I can see it every night and every morning.  A stuffed dog I was given as a baby also adorns the dresser as well as a framed print of female saints, given by a friend.

Tonight I framed two Tom Tomson prints I bought this Fall in Owen Sound at the Tom Tomson gallery.  They are in my dining room.  An evocative print given as a gift by a bride and groom graces a wall in the living room.  Everywhere I look now I see pieces that are meaningful to me.  Every piece has a story and I know them all.

As I gaze around this incredible space I am feeling less like a guest and more like I am home.  The walls are looking for familiar and friendly.  And soon all the boxes will be unpacked and this house will truly be my home.

In the Spring there will be a smudging and house blessing where I will invite the congregation to be part of warming and welcoming the space; they will share in the blessing of this house made a home.

Thanks be to God.


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