I Remember...

I Remember

The day she told me how her dad 
had tried to sell her

How tiny was his house, 
and how sad the story of his mom being tricked away

The day I found out 
he was suicidal, 
and homicidal

His story--the teacher beating him on the head in grade 4
Telling him off for his dad's odd and irritating behaviour

I Remember

The walk to that village
So many times
Each time not quite sure of the way
But sniffing it out
More than the walk
The people in that home
A rare place that treated me as 'normal'
Let me sit up there in the loft above the pigs
Chopping the feed
While we chatted
The walk away from the village
With another woman
Her analogy 
Rain "like diarrhea" that day :o) 
Making vegetable tofu
EATING that tofu
(Even if I stayed, 
those memories are long in the past, 
an era gone by)

I Remember

A me that was young and idealistic
Brimming with enthusiasm
And energy

I Remember

The man left by the river
I had to try to help 
Because earlier
Someone else
I hadn't
And he died

I Remember

Jack's older brother
How wrong it was
That he died that day

On the bus, halfway home
Hearing their had been an explosion
And some of my students lost their fathers

I Remember 

Thing shared in grief groups
The stories of pain
The times it was "the first time" 
They had had a chance to grieve
The day I was concerned about all the pain
But then asked
And remembered
No, this is good
Very good

I Remember

This thought trail will continue
And I will keep remembering
Until I remember no more. 

I wonder what new memories 
will be created 
in decades to come

The grieving begins...

And so... the grieving begins

What will it be like
To not walk these streets anymore
To not see the simple shops
To not be able to get to a grocery store
Or buy medication
Or fruit and flour
Within a 5 minute walk

What will it be like
To not always be noticed
Get the double-takes
Hear people talk about me as I walk by
To not have 3 different people greet me
On a 15-20 minute walk to work

Small town living has it's advantages
And disadvantages.

I'm going to miss
That Ratan chair and table set
My balcony garden
All those peace lilies
My innovative planters
My bright, open and full of plants office
My kitchen
My living room sofas
The bookshelves
All the little efforts made to make a home
And now I will leave the home

Maybe I should focus on the parts I DON'T like
Then it will be easier....
Yeah, I'm not going to miss the water stains that never got fixed
The electricity that seems to be faulty
I'm especially not going to miss the noise--in the house and out
And such a hard time to find quiet and beautiful places to walk

This is all about surroundings, things.
What is bigger, is the people.

What I love
The crazy openness of relationship
That is what it is with my colleagues
M.A. says I create community
and invite vulnerable relationship
Wherever I go
I don't need to worry about not finding it in the future
I know I already have it with some friends
Suddenly I catch a vision of creating it
in new places, once again.

But people
Their stories
Their homes
These are also the 'reels' that play in my head
The individual vignettes
So many
What a privilege
To have been allowed into their lives
To be trusted
To have shared the journey
At some pivotal and painful times

These encounters
Have marked me
Etched something on my soul

Traveller Still...

It's interesting
How the metaphors that come
Or the words spoken
That resonate
Become something that carries
Way further than we could have ever imagined

How did I come upon the ideas of 
Traveller and 
for me, for my journey

Oh yeah, sure
"Life is a journey"
"We're all on a pilgrimage"
And my life
Living half-way around the world
From where I was born
Where my roots first took hold
Perhaps led me to identify even more

But that's just the physical

Today I'm realizing again
I'm still on such a journey
The land is still so new
I thought I'd started out
   to new places
I thought I'd 'landed'
But then came the need
To start out again

I've almost found a place to rest,
   I think
Though I'm not quite sure...
I know where it is
   that is 'most' comfortable now
Compared to all the other places
   that are definitely not
And yet I know
It may not be the place I stay
There is more to explore

And so
Once again
I remember
I embrace again
My identity
As Traveller, Sojourner

I'm thankful that I'm "enjoying" it again.
I'm thankful that it actually feels pleasant
(Sometimes the journey has been just hard
sometimes terrifying!
Sometimes I've doubted
if there was a journey,
a road,
or if I was just mired in muck.

I am a traveller, a sojourner,
All my life I will be
And on this journey
Again and still
I am so thankful
for journey companions
Others exploring similar terrain
Others not content to stay where they are
When they discover 
the land where they have been 
has become 
   a place of slavery
   and injustice

And this defines the kind of traveller I am
And the kind of travellers 
   that become my journey companions
We're not constantly moving, constantly leaving
Just out of wanderlust
Or a simply frivolous and 
   never-ending need 
   to see new places
(Though seeing new places is good
Maybe that's a part of discovering 
   the problems 
   with the place you are)
No, more we are compelled by 
   an awakening
   a discontent
   realizing where we have been
   is wrong
We cannot stay

A traveller, a learner
May I always be
And always "at home"
   with those who also seek

Noble Dreams

Sometimes I have noble dreams
Dreams of …
Being a part of bringing peace.
The fight on the street
The screams in the night…
What are the words said....?
Or the presence that would enter
That would bring calm
Invite change
While at the same time
Flooding each one with hope
Not shame

What do I do even now?
Up in my 4th floor apartment,
Hearing the yelling below
I’ve done it before
Run out into the night,
To follow a situation
To try to help

I’ve also not done anything at times
That girl being pushed into that black car…at 4 a.m.
What was that?

I try, I turn…
To tune into You
What might You say?
I want, I need
Your guidance
Each moment
Each time
In each of these situations
Whether to run out
Or stay

Not feeling the urgency/need
To run out there
There seem to be people involved
And yet I pray
Peace Lord,
Please bring your peace


Sometimes I have noble dreams
And yet these seem easier to pull off
With strangers
With those closer, today
Not sure I brought much peace...
I lost patience with the children
Some of the rambunctious boys
Several times :o(

Do I bring peace to the others?
It takes me so long to gain clarity about where I stand
The agitation inside, doesn’t lead to peace outside

How I need
To know You again
How I long
To live in Your presence again
To once again sense
Being led
How I need Your wisdom
How I long for Your guidance
How I need the clarity
That energizes
Lead me Lord.

A Celtic Blessing

May the Christ who walks on wounded feet
Walk with you on the road.

May the Christ who serves you with wounded hands
Stretch out your hands to serve.

May the Christ who loves with a wounded heart
Open your hearts to love.

May you see the love of Christ
In everyone you meet.
And may everyone you meet
See the face of Christ in you.

(Discovered this in my notes--while going through clutter-busting. I'll save it here. Don't need to keep the paper now.)

Can You make a way for me

I'm here, once again
Where I've been so many times before
Knowing this passion
Knowing this sense of calling
It's need I see, and I'm willing and eager
   To somehow work to see change
And I think the part of me 
That yearns to jump in
   To find a way
Is the part of me that You made
   The part of me that responds to You
That knows Your goodness
That has a sense of how this world was meant to be
And wants to play a part 
In seeing Your Kingdom come
Simply a response to Your invitation

And yet, once again
There is the "impossibility" of going forward
I don't know the way
There are options, yes
Each one will take a certain investment
Has pros and cons
Is one of these the way to go?
Will You lead, give wisdom
   As I/we research, investigate?

I'm here again
If this is You
If it has been You
Leading in this vision
Firing this passion
Giving the ideas to do this work
Then You 
Will have to show the way
Will have to make a way
Perhaps even using our hands to
   Clear the brush
   Build a road

Will You
       make a way for me.

As You Prepare to Leave

I'm feeling it tonight
Though I don't quite know what "it" is
It is a thankfulness
And a sadness
All wrapped together

She's in palliative care now
My mom says
Her health is declining
She will soon leave us

She's been a hero for me
Someone ahead, further down the road
Her life has given me glimpses of what mine might be
As I've watched her
Fifty years ahead of me

Aunt Annie,
I hope I will be like you in so many ways
Your positive outlook
Your choosing of grace, forgiveness and service
Rather than self-pity, bitterness or complaining
Your consistently reaching out to others
And yet trusting the Lord yourself too
There is probably much more too
But honestly, we haven't seen each other very often
For me to know more
I'm thankful for the amount of connection we've had
For your emails
For your encouragement

I hope this last leg of the journey goes well for you
I hope you know His comfort
His peace
I hope He holds you, in a very special way
I hope you are at peace
And that there is joy
As you graduate on
To the life after this one

Thank you for this life you have lived
Thank you for showing me how to live it well
To live it with courage
And with grace
I will choose to remember you
And I will take courage from your life
Long after you are gone
Thank you for your faithful journey
Thank you for the strength you have imparted to me

Be yours

I wrote another post for Aunt Annie a few years ago, for her 94th birthday. Here is more of this woman, and how she has blessed and impacted me: Thanks Aunt Annie!

Update: on Nov. 10, 2017 Aunt Annie took her last breath...

Trembling and Bewildered, Afraid

Mark 16 
When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body. Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb and they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?”
But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.“Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’”
Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.

The Realization

     I guess I am a little "afraid" after all.


It's okay to be afraid and bewildered
   as you follow this Jesus
This Jesus...who will constantly surprise you
   with what he does next
It's okay
   that it takes you time to process it all

He still comes to you
   invites you into the experience
   and the revelition
He still goes ahead of you
   and waits for you
   in the unknown

Go there anyway
You won't want to miss out
   on this adventure!

The invitation:
   Expect the unexpected
   Cultivate a sense of anticipation (it is a faith) choice.
   And in my mind ring the words, "In the light of an unknown future, why would you choose fear [instead of faith]?"

Note: the above are my reflections that came from this Lectio Divina meditation: The Risen Christ Goes Ahead of You

Tired of Simplistic Faith

God, I'm tired of simplistic faith!
And simplistic teaching on faith
Simplistic lists of sins
That leave most of us feeling 
     self-satisfied with ourselves
     noble in helping others
     along with a little bit of pity
     ...disguised as compassion
"Come to the Cross,
     and everything will be okay"
That's all it takes?
What does that mean anyway?
Does it help us?
Does it help anyone?

And it bugs me
That this sort of thing is still
So prevalent
It seems we may be
Doing more harm than good
Inoculating people
Against true faith
When they get a chance
To finally hear it

Greetings Friend!

Hi there,
It was good to see you again today.
As you came close
I suddenly realized
How nice it was
    It's been a LONG time

There you were
Feeling light and free
Enjoying people
Enjoying strangers
The elderly lady who was friendly
    Sitting beside her on the bus
Chatting, about 
    the city
    what it's like to be retired
Noticing and enjoying the exuberant little girl
    Walking home from school with her grandmother
A smile for the woman walking her dog
Letting a young man know
    "I also like those little croissants
    ---bought some yesterday."

I saw you there
Just a few glimpses today
I wonder if you'll be coming back
More regularly
Stay for longer
I'd like that
I really would

I wonder what sort of space and time
Is needed for that to happen
Maybe you were never meant
To come back permanently
    You've changed in the absence
    I don't even know what I'm looking for
When I yearn to see the "real you" again

The me I want to be
More often
For longer
I wonder what it will take

You Will Always Struggle... (Notes for the Journey #1)

You will always struggle to figure out how to live a healthy life.
Do not be surprised at this!

Your dreams are huge. New people and ideas keep coming. New projects start. You are changing. Your life is changing. Your body is changing. Those you work with are changing. All along the way you will discover new things about yourself, your energy levels, what inspires, what drains. There will be a continuing need to reexamine and then adjust, based on the new understanding that you have.  

Do not be discouraged at this need for continual discovery and change. Do not give in to the misplaced idea that because you have not yet "figured it out," somehow you have failed. 

What will work for you, will not work for someone else. What works for them, probably wouldn't work for you. YES! Learn from others. YES! Adopt and adapt time-tested principles. YES! Take on their wisdom and use it in your own life. But you are not "them" (whoever "they" are), and "they" are not you. 

Lay down this idea that "getting it right" or finally "figuring it out" should somehow be your goal, or that it is even possible. Drop the all-or-nothing thinking that leads you to either focus on "figuring it out" or giving up via the many ways you can run. 

Just live.


Know that you are loved, you are valuable, what you do matters, and this all while you are so NOT "figured out."

Learn to live each day in hope. Learn to live each day, each moment, making the wise choice for that time. Yes, keep setting aside those times to stop and evaluate and strategize to make the adjustments needed based on what you see now. But do not expect it to be perfect. Don't even hope for that. Realize and embrace the reality that even the new (better) plan will need to flex, change, and someday it may be scrapped altogether. It will serve your journey for the time it was needed, and that is enough.

Again, take a deep breath.
Life is good.
Live it exuberantly.
Live it well.
In all your glorious, imperfect messiness. 

I'm...Just me

It hit again
That sudden feeling of dismay
(or maybe it was envy?)
I see a good work an organization is doing
And, their organization, and ability to tap into resources
They have so much to offer
They do so many things so well

But me
I'm mostly just full of dreams
And plugging away at little things
That don't really seem to amount to much

Sometimes I wish
That somewhere
Out of the blue
Would drop in
Some people
With amazing abilities
And initiative 
To organize
Help us make what we have
Available to more people

But...I'm just me
We're just us
But with dreams
And a bit of stamina
Here we are
Staying in the process
Being formed
Hoping, somehow
It will all make a difference

I think it is
I think it has
For some people
I hope it goes deep
I guess it's enough
It'll have to be

Do not despise the day of small things
Who are you to ask or expect to be someone else, or receive a different path? Just walk this one well. Keep learning to walk this one well...

I'm Back

I'm back
It's me again
Showing up again
Starting to face my life again

Oh, what a mess
So much, neglected for so long
It's hard to know where to start
Hard to figure out how to plan
But plan I must

I don't need a perfect plan
It will need to be adjusted
Time and again
But each time adjustments will be made
To address that season

I need a framework, to understand life, my life
Is the CWF one that will work?

Starting to feel again...

Maybe I am
starting to feel again
I've been
I've felt
for so long

   from me
   from feeling much of anything
rather numb, I guess
and I've wondered why

I still don't know why
not completely
I suspect it's related to this rather long season
a big transition 
with many 
Perhaps in the process
living with a constant undercurrent
of tension
     so many decisions
     so many unknowns
I don't let myself feel
lest the feelings overwhelm
and drown me

maybe I'm moving again
into a place where I can breathe, again
I can figure out what it means to be me, again
get excited about going forward, again

But for now
I'm thankful
I can sense
I'm starting to feel again

    the pain of situations happening far away
    the loneliness of missing family
    some of that overwhelm again

No, the overwhelm, is not fun
there is so much ahead
    so much to face
    so much to learn how to do
    so many to whom I am responsible
    so many directions in which my head goes

But with the overwhelm
at least there is something to figure out
    and face
At least I'm not just in denial
    shut down

Perhaps, in the feeling again
I can even
once again 
start to feel 
connected to God, again
    and I think...that's what I've missed most

Words Fail

Written Mar. 30, 2017

So many times lately...I just don't have words. 
Well, not that I don't have words, but...I start to have some
And then the other side of the thing pops up
Other aspects
Other nuances
Or...the opposite extreme is also true
And the story becomes so big and complicated
I no longer know where to begin
Or if I should

Maybe I just need to sit in the reality longer
Not needing to write
Not needing to tell
Not needing to express

Well...I find
I just don't want to...write, tell, express

So much is going on
so much in so many directions
I don't even know what it really is
What the essence is

and ... let   go

God, is it You?

God, is it You?

Is it You that has called me?
Is it You that spoke?
Did You speak to me through Isa. 58
Leading me to think that the next decades 
   will be spent
   doing that

If it was You
If You want me to do this
(and I have no other possibilities 
or options going through my head right now),
Then You're going to need to provide

I suppose You know all that is needed
I suppose You know all about
...the ideas
...the people
...the money
...the buildings
...the organizational structures
...the coordination
...the communication
and whatever else
that will be needed. 

Yeah, so, if You want this done...
Please lead me
Please show me 
What to do
How to live

And please hold me
At peace


It's that feeling again
Of being ripped apart
Having life to live 
And people I love
   on two sides of the ocean
I like each of the places
   when I am there
I can be excited about the other place
   when I think of it
And yet the leaving is hard
And seems to get harder
It's inevitable I guess
Unless I were to
   disengage my heart

Connecting to Myself

Not too long ago I finally cried when talking to God about something at night. The next thought was, "Oh it's good to finally be connecting with You again." And then I realized..."No, I am actually finally connecting with myself."

For some reason it's been hard again, these days...to connect to me--to know what I'm really feeling, and why...to process it all. 

Little sister had a baby this week--a baby born soon followed by testing, procedure #1, then surgery for an in utero known congenital heart problem. The tension and relief of all that--helped the tears to come, and I was glad.

I wonder what's going on with me. I wonder how to see it all. I understand some of it. Some I don't know. And I'm not quite sure what to do. 

And for some reason I'm now less eager to pour it all out...even here...

How Long Will I be Here?

Someone I know and respect lost his brother this week. He posted this music video. Ever since I watched it the words and melody have been running through my head.

The man who died--sounds like he was an amazing person, and a blessing to many.
He was 54 when he died.

I am 46.
Many have not made it to the age I am now.
A cousin was only 19 when he succumbed to cancer.
An uncle was only 42 when he left this world.

Some of my great aunts have lived long lives.
They would joke around--"One of our sisters died when she was young, she was 59." (Or was it 69?) Yes, they mostly lived well into their 90's, one (at least) past 100.

And so I ponder again this question: How long will I be here?
Not sure how much time I should spend pondering it.
At this point I don't know the answer, and don't really need to know.

And yet to stop and feel it, the poignancy and mystery of the brevity of life, and the reality that it is beyond our control--not a bad thing.
Somehow, it seems, it is important to learn to hold this reality, to live humbly before it.
And somehow it's important to then, not fritter away our days, make sure they are invested for what matters, lived well--stewarding well the "talents" entrusted to us.

Captured again

It amazes me, You know
How You do it
How You capture and inspire my heart
Again and again
Just when I wonder
If I'm too tired
If I'll ever know again
   the "me" that I'm meant to be
   the "me" that is alive to You
When I think I can't hear anymore
When I wonder if I'm dying
Or if I've permanently lost something
You capture my heart again

Last week it was through the book Chasing Fireflies. Oh my, what an amazing story! I cried several times (and laughed too). And through it, and by the end, and the author's personal reflection--You, pulling me, wrecking me actually, igniting again, or deepening, that passion for...to encourage and help young guys, to see them find healing and encouragement, to be amazing and good men--husbands, fathers--in the future!

I'm sure the messages I heard by N.T. Wright yesterday were also a part of renewing and refreshing, refocusing my eyes, my heart, reminding me of Your beauty, the privilege of having Your Word, of knowing Jesus.

Today, it is a song (or maybe more than one song...discovering a group I hadn't heard of--a few great songs!)--Wild Heart, by Urban Rescue. Yes, it brought tears...but maybe because I was needing to cry...to really connect again, or...first to acknowledge, that it's big, that it sometimes feels hard, very hard, and to bring it to You. But in this song, something touched me, something resonated...something in the song resonated with something already true and real and deep, down solid in me...

And in the tears
I know again
That I am alive

Ah...I know
I shouldn't doubt
You are the God who renews and refreshes
You promise to do these things
You, God of the resurrected Jesus
Of course You can resurrect
    and renew
    and revive
    even me.

Thank you.
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