"All words are symbols that represent unspeakable realities. Which is also why words are magical." (Donald Miller tweet)

Thursday, February 26, 2015

I am not Us. or Them.

You know what is REALLY bothering me this week?

Us and Them language. In which "We" are right and good, and "They" are wrong and evil.

All of Us.

ALL of Them.

A large, faceless, homogenous Us.

Standing in angry opposition to
a large, faceless, homogenous Them.

From all sides.

On all issues.

Truly, it makes me want to weep.

Though I've likely been guilty of it myself.

Listen -

I am a Gen-X-er (I think). Lots of Gen-X characteristics apply to me. Lots don't.

I never thought of myself as a feminist. But by lots of definitions, I absolutely am. By lots of other definitions - I absolutely am not.

I'm a Christian. And I'm fully aware that by saying that, all kinds of baggage and labels and descriptors and assumptions get applied to me. Many, if not most, are simply not accurate. They're definitely not as simplistic as they might seem.

I'm white ... Canadian ... a wife ... a north-ender ... a goody-two-shoes AND a rebel ... a student ... a gardener ... a (sometimes) runner ... a meat-eater ... a Dr. Who watcher ... a driver ... a walker. I'm pretty sure I've voted for all of the various political parties at one point or another.

But the thing is -

I am not exclusively, completely, only, any one of these labels.

I am not any large, faceless, homogenous Us.

And neither are You.

And neither are They.

They are made up of Ones.
Who are also all kinds of Other Things too.
Some of Their Other Things might be the same as some of Our Other Things.
Or Your Other Things.

In a book I'm working through, I see this quote. I'm going to leave out the identifiers, because I think you could likely plug just about any label in there.

"If you want to connect with a _____ person, you have to look at him or her as an individual. The preconceptions you may have about ______ need to be discarded from the beginning if you want to have a genuine relationship with a ______ person. There can be no more generalizations and blanket distinctions.... We need to go beyond "understanding" and "dialogue" and get down to a personal heart-to-heart level."

*stops writing*

*sadly walks away*

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

grumpy pastor

Ugh, the grumpies are getting to me. Not people. Just grumpy reactions on my part to various things, building into an all-around grumpy demeanour.

It's not my best look.

I could blame it on the fact that I lost five pounds --- yesterday --- due to a case of the flu that knocked me from the top of the world to unmoving on the couch within about 40 minutes.

I'm feeling better now.
Working from home today, just in case.

I could blame it on the continual moments of "how can this be happening" with Ukraine ... ISIS ... government ... news ... bureaucracy in various places ....


I'm definitely not blaming it on the cold. The cold is sans precipitation and (I think) aligned with high barometric pressure. If it was warming and thawing and snowing, my head would be pounding. And it's not. So I'm OK with the cold.

It could just be that I have slightly more on my plate than I want to have, and I know we have a vacation coming in a couple of months, and I just want it noooooooow.

Sorry for the whining.
Side-effect of the grumpies.

So. Enough of this grumpy nonsense.

I need to:

*Put on some jazz music.

*Get at least a few things DONE on my to-do list.

*Delete / avoid / ignore / delay the things that are soooo irking me but over which I have no control or influence.

At least for the moment.
Their day will come.

*Remind myself repeatedly that I have the life of my dreams, full of love and laughter and fulfillment and purpose.

*And find that oh-so-crucial place of thankful contentment that holds me steady in the present, even while I dream (or rant) about future possibilities.


Um, does anyone have any dark chocolate-covered almonds?

Friday, February 20, 2015

getting rid of the tangles

... breathing ...

Sometimes my head gets super crowded, because my plate is full and my cup runneth over. And not in a good way.

When that happens I'm grateful for a number of things.

  • my quiet little house (that somebody else cleaned this week)
  • jazz music and a good historical fiction book ($2.99 on my Kindle)
  • people that coach me through the tangled mess that happens in my head sometimes

There are only a few of those people. Trustworthy. Safe. Wise. Further down different roads than me. Objective. And they know me oh-so-well.

Much of what I do is helping other people through the tangles in their heads. (We all have tangled messes sometimes, let's face it.) Pastors need people like that too, and they can be hard to find.

I'm grateful for the ones I have. They help me breathe again when the load gets too heavy.

Here's to good, solid, smart, trustworthy, mentoring friends on Outrage-Free Friday!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

tiny trauma

Have you seen these new "tiny homes"? I'm so intrigued by them.

Spike, not so much. It's not like we live in a big house now, but he can watch the Leafs or play his guitar while I read a book – we have room for both of those things at once. Plus we're both klutzes. Everything would break, very quickly.

He's probably right.

Still, I'm SO intrigued. The perfect floorplan, everything in its place, sunshine streaming in, and though they are tiny, they are beautiful. And no mortgage, in some cases!

No. Mortgage. 

Or at least a way smaller one.

Psychologists worrying about the possible trauma of living in a tiny space. 

Are. You. Kidding. Me. 

Listen, dislike it if you wish. Choose (because you can) to live in a giant home where the vacuuming never ends. Acknowledge that both you and your Spike tend to be animated while telling a story and need some arm-waving space. Fair enough.

If you buy one and then realize it's not for you ... move away. Or even just step outside onto the giant planet that is ours and get yourself a latte.

But let's not bandy about words like "trauma" when discussing living in a tiny, perfectly-appointed, safe and secure, beautiful home in the urban centre or wilderness of your choice. Mmm-kay?

mutters "trauma, pfft"
... snorts
... waves arms in disgust
... walks away

Monday, February 16, 2015

trucker wife applause

I'd like to take this moment to congratulate a certain Lexus driver in Pennsylvania on still being alive today, after cutting off that fully-loaded flatbed truck my husband is driving on I-90.

Quite the daredevil you are, taking your life in your hands like that. And that joyfully random testing of the laws of physics - "how quickly CAN 80,000 pounds come to a stop?" - well, that's just a level of courage that one doesn't see every day. And you know, it's good for truckers to have terrifying moments like that - helps them keep perspective on what's REALLY important in life.

It's actually a public service you performed today, just floating out there in front of him, entirely oblivious to the world around you. You must be very proud.

By the way, some time you should check out that handy indicator that other people use to signal lane changes. And also, if you use your right foot to push down on the conveniently-placed pedal, you'll find the car accelerates to highway speed. It's all very exciting, so amazing what technology can do these days.


In other news,
Spike​'s brakes and horn both performed admirably today.
As did his blood pressure.
And a platoon of guardian angels.

Friday, February 13, 2015

bits of food on a friday

Alarm went off at 4:30 AM today.

That's just dumb. But I had to finish (start) a short paper that was due by 11:30 AM.

I had started it.
I had been thinking about it.
And it was only two pages, after all, plus references.

So there was coffee and a good solid breakfast, but by the time I rushed out the door at 10:40, I was super hungry again. And I was racing to a quick stop at the office, followed by a three-hour class which included participation in a for/against debate on redress for historical racial discrimination.

So I grabbed a couple of cookies.

Dropped one in the driveway.

Looked at it.

Ate it.

And now I'm back at the office, have a few details to finish up before the weekend hits, and boy-oh-boy that early morning is really kicking in.

Almonds and beef jerky aren't helping.

It was an early morning yesterday too, because I wanted to know what happened in Minsk.

I don't want to talk about it.

A ceasefire agreement was reached.
It should be implemented Saturday at midnight.
The 50 tanks that rolled into Ukraine from Russia DURING the peace talks
undermined my faith in the outcome a little.

I don't want to talk about it.

And now my head is being held up by one hand as I contemplate those last few details of the day, wondering which ones are absolutely necessary, and which ones can wait until Tuesday.

I'm sure I have some raisins here somewhere.

Happy weekend to ya.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

watching Ukraine

I watched the Munich Security Conference this weekend, via Twitter, while waiting to pick Spike up from his latest root canal. (It went well, thanks. He's feeling much better.)

President Poroshenko held up the passports of Russian soldiers who apparently "lost their way" in Ukraine. I know people are sick of "talk" - "do something!" - but I'm grateful world leaders are talking, thinking. I can't imagine the weight they carry.

And I'm grateful that Canada continues to send humanitarian aid.

Yesterday, Merkel (Germany) visited both Obama (US) and Harper (Canada - that's us - I'm Canadian, for those of you who don't know). There is lots of talk about arming / not arming Ukraine. Merkel is against it, as it seems much of Europe is. I don't blame them one bit. It's their continent. They remember World War II. And World War I. Only a couple of generations ago.

Sometimes I wish I didn't know history.
I wish I didn't have the distinct impression that it is repeating.

And the thing is - the idea that "someone has to stop him (Putin)" - while I entirely, wholeheartedly agree with that statement, the thing is ... no one is at all certain that sending arms to Ukraine will do that. In fact, most seem pretty certain that it won't. Putin isn't afraid of Ukraine. Or the world.

Today - a city called Kramatorsk was unexpectedly shelled. It's a bit north of Debaltseve. There was fighting there last summer, but then Ukraine took it back, I think in July.

Tomorrow, unless plans change, Merkel and Hollande (confusingly for North Americans, he's the President of France) are meeting with Poroshenko and Putin in Minsk, Belarus. The point is not to come up with a new ceasefire agreement. The point is to figure out how to implement the ceasefire that was agreed upon last fall.

Merkel has promised to stand for the territorial integrity of Ukraine. Poroshenko has said that he trusts her. Putin still says they aren't even in Ukraine.

I haven't really heard anyone express much hope that this will go well.

But history has moments that make no sense, moments that turned the tide.

So ... I pray. And I watch. And continue to make plans, stubbornly, to go there this year, to hug friends very tightly, to pray and sing together with them, and to help where we can.