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Posts Tagged ‘journey’

I am blessed to receive four weeks of vacation every year.  Some of my colleagues take all four weeks at once.  I can’t do that.  I’m too much a creature of habit; of routine.

I usually take my vacation in blocks of two weeks…this year was no exception.

The first week I stayed with a friend and we did some day trips and worked around his house, getting some outdoor stuff done.  The weather was grand and we enjoyed exploring somewhat close to home.  The focus of that week was relaxing, unwinding and practicing Sabbath.

The second week I came home and challenged myself with a couple of hikes that were more difficult then I thought they’d be but learned a great deal about myself…I don’t have to walk all the way to the end to finish the hike.  I can turn around when I’m ready and I’ve still accomplished something.  I also did something I’ve been wanting to do for years, but was never able…I got two tattoos.  I’ll write more about them in another post.

I was back to work for a week, which wasn’t quite enough time to get things back organized, cleaned out my home office and it’s now quite efficient, clean and bright.  I love the space in there and working in it makes me very happy.  It also means I can relax in the living space of the rectory to try and separate work and home.

The third and fourth weeks of vacation I flew to Ontario and drove a lot.  I didn’t get to see everyone I wanted to see.  Some of the trip felt like I was attending Old Home Week as I drove across parts of Ontario I’d not seen in two decades.  I visited graves, places in which I’ve lived.  Hiked trails that I’d hiked before and explored new areas that I’d always wanted to but never made time.  The weather didn’t cooperate as much as I’d have liked it to, but it was still a good time away.

In reflecting on my vacation it was incredible.  I spent a great deal of time in prayer and have re-established meditative prayer.  I do this while walking and had forgotten how it makes my soul sing to pray while I walk or hike.

I’m practicing mindfulness in what I eat and in how I eat.  I’m walking every single day without exception and walking to places in the community when I can.

I very much missed my standard transmission car when I was away as I was driving an automatic transmission for the first time in years.  I kept forgetting to put it in park before I shut off the engine.  Ugh.

I learned that home is where I am.  It is not a far off destination.  It is not a house, a parent, a partner.  It is me.  And that makes me very happy.

The mountains are home to me.  I felt, at times, terribly homesick when I was back East.  I wasn’t sure if it was homesickness for a place I once knew, but eventually I realised that I was homesick for Fernie.  For the beautiful part of creation in which I now live.

As I drove home from Calgary I was giddy with the anticipation of seeing the mountains. Once I reached the Crowsnest Pass the smile on my face was broad and bright.  Climbing into my own bed made me deliriously happy and having a shower in my own bathroom meant all was right with the small world in which I live.

It was wonderful to visit places and see people I’d not seen in a long time.  And it was equally wonderful to put the key in lock and come home to my house.  A place I’ve not lived for that long and yet I can’t imagine leaving.  The Elk Valley is my home.  The mountains are my home.  They are a part of me as much as the air I breathe.  May it always be so.

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You don’t have to look far to stumble across Year in Review articles, posts and memories.

For a lot of the world 2016 was a bad year.  For me, it was a year of new beginnings.  This time last year I knew I was moving to British Columbia, and only about 10 other people did.  A handful from both congregations.  It was not an easy decision to make, to leave my parish, my friends and family behind.

God was beckoning me to something I had never experienced…I had always imagined if I was going to leave Ontario, it would be for the Maritimes, not the Mountains…and here I am.  The province of British Columbia is different.  I live about as East as you can and still be in BC.  I live about a south as you can and still be in BC.  The closest neighbouring “city” is an hour away (West).  I can get to the state of Montana in less than half an hour.

The climate here has reminded me of Northeastern Ontario.  Nearly two weeks of bitter cold, and bright sun.  A part on the furnace at the Church froze and we were without a furnace on Sunday.  So we all snuggled together on the side of the Church that still had heat and it was grand.

I’ve not written as much as I thought I would over this past year.  It’s been a year of firsts and yet my 9th year in ministry.  I’ve reflected on times as a student, a lay pastor, a summer pastor, a Deacon and a Priest.  It’s been wonderful participating in the life of the community; both of the Church and of Fernie itself.  I’m becoming “known” in the community, and in (mostly) good ways.

I am blessed to have made some friends here and one or two very close friends.  I have experienced a deep, abiding love from this congregation.  I’ve heard a few times “we’re so glad you came” and I feel very much the same.  2016 has been a year of transition, a year of anticipation, expectation, participation…moving with what could fit in my car plus another 20 or so boxes across the country to a furnished house.

Slowly, I am making this house a home…personal touches, hanging artwork, acquiring little things for the house.  I am able to keep in touch with my family and friends “back East” thanks to technology and even letter writing.

In speaking with a colleague and friend who was worried about me living so far from family and friends, he asked how I was doing.  I told him I was happy; truly happy for the first time in a very long time.

I am content in who I am.  In who God has called me to be and where God has called me to serve.  I am part of the LGBTQ+ community in Fernie and beyond.  I am part of the Arts community in Fernie and beyond.  I am joining the Symphony of the Kootenays Chorus in January.  I am a patron of the Arts Station, the Library and the Museum.

I have met people who love me and who I love.  And for that I feel incredibly blessed.

My Mam turned 80 in 2016 and I was able to be with her for her birthday in August.  I saw friends I had not seen in decades and it was wonderful.  And yet I found myself pining for the mountains.  When I flew over the Rockies towards home I felt a catch in my chest.  Is this where I was meant to be?  Driving from Cranbrook to Fernie, I saw the mountains again and felt as though I were home.  It was a wonderful feeling.

This winter I am going to learn to snowshoe.  I am going to explore hiking trails.  Some days I will stay inside, wrapped in a blanket and sip tea.  And some days I will laugh until my sides hurt, or cry until I can’t breathe.

Here, in the Elk Valley, is where God called me to be.  I am a child of God, created in God’s image, which is one of perfection.  I am waiting with baited breath for the birth of the one who will set us all free…waiting to receive the perfect gift.

I am nervous about my first Christmas in the West.  But I will continue to put one foot in front of the other and know I am loved.  I will look through the windshield more than the rear view mirror because 2017 will be my best year yet.  I will turn 50, I will savour every moment of every day.  I will continue to love and be loved.  I will continue to work towards the coming of God’s kingdom, knowing that together; heart to heart, hand in hand, we can and we will change the world.

From my heart to yours, I wish you a very Merry Christmas, a Happy and Healthy New Year and a Blessed Epiphany.

 

 

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Home again, home again jiggedy jig.

I made it.  After six hours of driving today, through wind, snow, rain and sun we finally arrived.  C, my Warden was here with keys and hugs.  There were flowers with a card signed by the congregation.

It’s a beautiful day here…views from mountains from most every window.  The living room window looks out over a brick wall from the building next door.  Otherwise every window has a spectacular view.

Looking around the office, the boxes have arrived.  They just need to be unpacked.  There is food in the fridge, ice cream in the freezer, and tea bags on the counter.

There are two beds in the house that are made and ready to go.  Everything I could need is here.  Bed, dresser, bedside table…amazing.

This afternoon we took a walk around the downtown and need to decide somewhere to go to supper.  Tomorrow will be spent unpacking, buying little things needed like a boot mat and a garbage can.

I can have a bath in my bathtub.  Sleep in my new bed.

In my new home.

I’m home.

I went to the Church and checked out the worship space.  I was overcome with emotion, shed a few tears, feeling like I am where God has called me to be.  I showed my traveling companion the place and she shed a few tears as well.  “This is where you need to be”.  One of the stained glass windows behind the altar says “The Sower”.  That’s what she feels I am called to be; what it is that I am going to do; what I am called to do here.

I’m exhausted, exhilarated and ready to go…but first I need to eat and then to sleep.

Life, as they say, is grand.

God is great.

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This morning we left Winnipeg, Manitoba and tonight we stopped in Swift Current, Saskatchewan.  It was about 9 hours of driving and 800 kilometers.  We made stops for food, gas, stretches and giggles.

This has been a remarkable journey thus far.  The landscape changed from cityscape to rural, from hills to plains and prairie.  We saw Ice Roads, rivers, wheat, trees and rock.  What a remarkable country we get to call home.

I’ve seen all manner of vehicles on the road.  Traveled at the speed limit, below it and occasionally above it.  Cruise control is wonderful.

So tonight as I reflect back on the time my friend and I have traveled I have literally shaken the dust off my shoes from Ontario and begin to embrace my new life in the West.  We are not yet in the mountains, but I find myself yearning for my new home.

I’ve never lived outside of Ontario, so this will be a new chapter and adventure.  I’m excited to see what the future holds.

And for right now I’m going to have a long soak in the tub, check out tomorrow’s route and pray for restful sleep.

Tomorrow is B.C. or bust!

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We decided last night that we wanted to travel earlier today and possibly be off the road a little sooner than last night tonight.  We definitely traveled farther today, and definitely traveled further tonight then we have yet.  A total of 11 hours of driving, with short breaks, filled the gas tank twice.

We started at 8:00 am and checked into the hotel tonight just after 7:00 pm.  A very long day, but worth it to make up for Thursday’s lousy weather day.

The roads were icy this morning but the further we traveled West the clearer they got.  Had some rain in Minnesota, but other than that, the weather was great.  It was -12 when we started out from Ironwood, and +3 when we landed in Winnipeg.  Definitely a strange winter.

Started this morning in Michigan, crossed into Wisconsin, then Minnesota, then North Dakota and finally into Manitoba tonight.  The sight of a Tim Horton’s; the first we’d seen since leaving London, Ontario bright a slight tear to our eye.  Ah yes, steeped tea…nectar of the Gods.

The first day of travel we went 500 kms.  Yesterday we traveled 600 kms.  Today we traveled 950 kms.  That leaves just over 1,400 kms to go.

And now to plot tomorrow’s route, and find something for supper.  All in all, an excellent day.

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