Thursday, September 29, 2005

Rosie's Visit

Confident little Rosie
Dressed in sparkly shades of pink
Sailed happily into my office
Sipping on a purple drink.
Her hair in fifteen braids
Her eyes were big and green
Her smile as wide as a sideways moon
Dimples deeper than I’ve seen.

Charming poise…………

And as I chatted with her mom
In serious adult tones
Rosie displayed her creative side
With markers I had loaned.
She drew circles, lines and zigzags
And then a picture of herself
She folded them up in letters
And placed them on the shelf.

“For mailing!”

The happy pictures that she drew
Revealed nothing from real life
That her mom described emotionally
Details of violent family strife.
Yelling, hitting and accusations
Were the family norm
Until the day dad crossed the line
Creating a furious storm.

Black eyes of defeat……..

It woke her mom who had to act
To protect her children from more harm
They fled to a transition house
A place that’s safe and warm.
They started to heal and plan a life
Cocooned from harms way.
And throughout the constant upheaval
Rosie smiled throughout the day.

It was her job…………

Our conversation carried on
Her mom in need of care
Their lives are filled with turmoil
Under a continuous vicious glare
And when the talk grew to serious
Rosie lunged for the bright spotlight
Displaying resilient showmanship
Smiling with all her might.

Buoyant determination….

Rosie’s only “free and a half”
But she’s got important work to do
She’s decided it’s been left to her
To shield her mom from the blues
So, she dances, talks and acts upbeat
Our attention she demands
By drawing purple polka dots
On her chubby arms and hands.

Performing Arts……….

The absurdity of the momentIs not lost on Mom nor I
We stop and laugh at this little clown
Whose got a twinkle in her eye.
Adult conversation then led to distant hope
Of future dreams ahead
A calming equilibrium
Desired by all who still feel dread.

Toddler optimism…….

The adult talk began to cease
Time to venture out to the street
Rosie finished her last masterpiece
That she wanted me to keep.
I thanked her and asked for a hug
She exuberantly complied
I told her I wanted to take her home
She stopped me in my stride.

Enthusiastic embrace……….

A serious look crept on her face
As she snuggled on my lap
It was up to her to shield her mom
From more cruel mishaps
My mom needs me, she said
I have to go home with her
To look after her when she cries
And keep away the monster.

Toddler responsibilities……it’s her job.

When they are home alone at night
Violent demons start to prey
This family snuggles in one bed
Seeking safety ‘til the light of day
Soon one day they will gain the strength
To move forward without the fear
Sadly they’ll carry their wounds and scars
Underneath their brave veneer.

No one will ever know………

Written after an inspirational counselling session with a little girl and her mother last week

Fleeting glimpses

Aha moments often catch you by surprise, tend to be fleeting, but leave you feeling powerful, tingly, reassured and awake. If you are asleep at the wheel, you may miss it altogether. It happens only when you are able to calmly silence yourself inside in order to be able to allow your senses be alert.

It happens......

When there is a merging of two minds...........whether it is an outwardly vocal joust or an inwardly silent shared thought.

When there is a kindredness that can't be described or logically explained. It is the experience of being in a relationship based on sympathy of thought or feeling.

When two people are open to and accepting of each other's vulnerabilities because there is a shared sense of security, trust and acceptance.

When someone allows you to look deep into their eyes as they reveal to you their essence.

When you suddenly find peace and stillness in the middle of a flurry of activity.

In a canoe, slicing through the water, with the sun on your face. The noise of the world turns off, and you are alone to hear the symphony of nature.

When you are surrounded by a sea of people at a concert, feeling connection to them but at the same time alone in the crowd, and the first notes of your favourite song emanate from the piano........

On early Christmas morning when you slip into your children's room and quietly watch them sleep peacefully

When you share your innermost thoughts with your soulmate and they are accepted and understood.

During the intensity of an intimate moment when there is an unspoken bond of understanding compassion and kindredness.

When you are driving, shopping, working, gardening, washing dishes, vacuuming, cleaning, raking, cooking, reading, walking, counselling, talking, sitting in front of the fireplace, in the middle of a loud party, shovelling the driveway, drinking a strong hot cup of tea, sitting in the bathtub counting your can happen anytime, anywhere........but only if you are AWAKE!

Don't miss it...................

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Potluck dinners and God

4 people arrived at the Perly Gates to request entrance into Heaven; a Catholic man, a Jewish man, a Muslim man and a person from the United Church. Saint Peter asked them what they had learned from their religion.
The Catholic person said: "I have learned all my Catechism lessons and I Believe."
Saint Peter welcomed him through the gates.
Then the Jewish person said: "I have learned the Torah and I Believe."
Saint Peter welcomed him through the gates.
Then the Muslim man said: "I have learned from the Koran and I Believe."
Saint Peter welcomed him through the gates.
When it was the United Church person's turn, he said. "I have learned how to make a casserole

This was told to me last weekend by a retired United Church Minister after I commented on how much I love getting together with friends for a potluck dinner. It was a good laugh, but it also raised a big red flag in my head because sadly there is truth in the joke. It didn't sit well with me........a bit like how I feel when I've eaten a mushy tuna casserole dish with those bits of chinese noodles on it. Nauseous.

As a person struggling to find a place of worship that feels right, it was not a reality that I wanted to hear. The United Church was my chosen place when I was young. I attended Sunday school classes as a child, confirmation classes as an adolescent, and became a member. It was a good fit. The approach to learning about the stories of the Bible was gentle; the sermons were reflective in nature and applicable to daily life, supported by fundamental religious beliefs and traditions.

But, it has been a long time between then and now. For many reasons, my church going has been almost non-existant for years and it has been only recently that I have felt the tug to return to something more formal than my self-misguided attempts at Believing. Over the past couple of years, I have read some of the sermons and speeches from the Moderator of the United Church. I have had the opportunity to hear him give a sermon and was profoundly moved by his words and conviction. He had piqued my interest again, but now, I wonder if the drive to be all-inclusive and non-judgemental to a point of political correct paralysis has watered down the fundational core. I think so.
An institution needs a basement other than one to hold potluck dinners in. It needs to grow vibrantly from a solid structure that consists of meaning, answers and beliefs. Discussions about the presence of God and Jesus have to be grounded in conviction. I'm all for debate and questioning, and I'm not looking for something that is so rigid that there is no room for interpretation. But, I don't want to waste my time asking the questions I have and having the answer be something like........."well whatever you think......or whatever you want to believe.........whatever................" I want to be challenged intellectually, spiritually, emotionally. And I want some guidance from a Believer.
Be patient...........the answers will come.............
In the meantime, I will continue evaluate my own thinking on spirituality and seek out opinions from family and friends, and I will continue to search for answers through books, articles, and papers. But, most importantly I will keep my eyes, ears and heart open to the world around me so that I remain ready to feel His presence in my daily life. I know that it can happen anywhere in any situation. Gotta be awake. Gotta be alert. Gotta want it!

"Plant your young apple trees. This is what Martin Luther said he'd be doing if he knew that today were his last day in the world—he'd be out planting life, planting young apple trees. Let God find you alive and at work nurturing life when God chooses the time of appearing. "
Peter Short, Moderator, United Church of Canada

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

A New Day

Gee..............I finally figured how to access this blog place and I have writer's block!! Figures. Where to start..............hmmmmmm................

My slow re-awakening began almost a year ago when I found myself enrolled in a train- the- trainer program for a course on Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition. The purpose was to develop a portfolio that highlighted personal and career related achievements. It was a "duty" course for work, and since I'm not one to be forced into anything or to jump on the trend bandwagon, I was a reluctant non-believer in the whole process. What was the point, I kept thinking? But, as the course drew nearer and I had given my word that I would attend, I decided to be open to the individual assignments and group discussions. In hindsight, I'm so glad I did.
I started gathering memorabilia for my portfolio, determined to create one that reflected both my personal and career paths. A little light came on. A flickering I began to look back on my achievements so far, on the important people who helped shape who I am, and on the events that were touchstones in my life. Before I knew it, I was rummaging through basement boxes that had accumulated and travelled with me. The glimpses sparked memories; letters, photos, certificates, ribbons, music, ticket stubs--they all held clues to who I am.
Slowly, I began writing again. At first it was dutiful. Eventually it was for personal pleasure, remembrance, and learning. And what did I learn? I had allowed my individuality to be engulfed by a myriad of roles and titles, all of which I embrace, but should never have replaced the nucleus that is me.
As the course drew to a close, my portfolio had transformed into a treasured memento. I had filled it with stories I had written, songs/lyrics that I liked, prized photos I had taken, letters and comendations I had received as well as cards and documents related to my career, all organized in one binder.....colourful, wordy, creative, unique, and unfinished. Just like me.

As winter evolved into summer, hibernation lifted. The sunlight started seeping in.

In June, a bright light bounded into my office, introduced himself, and then left me blinded for a moment because of the glare. Since then, the light has remained , and my eyesight adjusted. I finally fully woke up from a couple of years of going through the tired motions of life and work and not taking the time to fully appreciate what I have and what I want. This luminescent leprechaun who shares stories, emotions, knowledge, crazy quirky opinions, and little emeralds of insight, woke me up and welcomed me back to the world of the non-slumbering. Since then, I have returned to writing, thinking, creating, wondering and planning..........I am once again full of awareness and will continue to push my limits, question my thinking, seek out answers.

Predestined? I believe so. Ready for it? Bring it on!

So, who am I? First and foremost, I am a lunatic, just like everyone else in this crazy complicated world. I tend to see things through absurdist eyes. I believe in fate, destiny, original ideas, optimism, hope, innocence, willfulness, honesty, goodness, love and freedom. And as I continue to search for clearer understanding and acceptance of my faith, I will venture forward with my eyes, ears and heart wide open. I will use this writing space to express my discoveries, to share my opinions, to sort out my views, to rant about injustice, and to write to learn.

*The moment you stop caring about the things that matter is the moment you stop living with your eyes wide open.*