Archive for May, 2013

One year later – how death impacts you!

Saturday, May 18th, 2013

Yesterday was a combination of personal and work life. 

I maintain a job which, on balance, is enjoyable.  I maintain a personal life, which on balance, is enjoyable.  Both have their ups and downs.

This past year in particular.

My wife passed away on May 17, 2013.  In the midst of all that, I continued to serve as pastor at the Kindersley  Alliance Church.

I have weepy days.  I am struck by “who knows what”, and I am propelled into memories.  They remind me that the combination of Jill’s qualities was unique.  Although I am going to be remarrying, I will not find the same qualities in a new wife.

I have administrative days.  I am struck by the life of ministry, and I am propelled into memories.  They remind me that Jill’s qualities of ministry partnership were unique.  I am having to find new combinations of ministry, but none will be the same.

Can I say I have done all things well? 

I have certainly been, more than once, in God’s presence wondering what is to come next.  I have sought to be honest and forthright in all I do.  But my own evaluations tell me that certain areas have been neglected – or perhaps more rightly put, my life is changing and new priorities are arising.

What will another year look like?

Coming out of this past year, I am learning that life can change overnight – and it did!  Cling to God, hold all else lightly.  Seek others who will put God first and ride the waves with them.  Tomorrow is likely, but not guaranteed.

One year later!

Upon awakening – May 16, 2013

Thursday, May 16th, 2013

One year ago, at about this time of he morning, I was on the road.  With my wife, Jill.  Off to a doctor suggested stress test.  Jill’s heart was broken from birth and had recently deteriorated (as we soon realized only too well).  We were checking to see how broken and what could be done.

The day was to be a quick in and out to the hospital.  The result was cardiac arrest and the following day Jill’s body remained in the Cardiac Care Unit while her soul now rested with Jesus.

These are not easy things to speak of.  But they are reminiscent of a very loving and worthwhile relationship.  I would not trade those 35 years of marriage – period!!  We endured differences and enjoyed likes.  We mentored others and learned our own self disciplines.

In a summary of our lives, on her last day we looked at each other and asked if there was anything we needed to say to each other.  There was no underlying tension or unresolved issues.  We sat and held hands and said we loved each other.

“Until death do us part.” 

Sweet love is not to be easily dismissed, and this year has seen many of what I call “weepy days”.  Tomorrow I have set aside time to just “be” in memory of Jill.  Part of the day will include time with others – but there will also be time alone.

In my heart I treasure Jill.  I’m not sure much else needs be said.

Two Doctors?

Tuesday, May 14th, 2013

The race was on! 

My brother and his son were both neck and neck in the race to receive their doctorates. 

Murray (the brother) had worked for 12 years to complete at doctor in theology degree.  David (his son) had been working for 8 years to complete a doctor in veterinary medicine.

Only one would have “official” recognition first.  Convocation dates were important.

Yesterday my brother won the race!  He graduated at a ceremony held in convocation hall on the University of Toronto.  His son will convocate on June 12th. 

Of course, the achievement and work that goes into this type of academic achievement cannot be overlooked.  Both have gone far beyond most of us.  And both carry their studies lightly.

They laugh at each other, they enjoy other people’s company, they are “normal” people.

Congratulations to two very unusual men who both love God, love others and somehow in between have found special places of service to both God and those who surround them day by day!

Two months

Monday, May 13th, 2013

I can’t believe that time flies. 

First off, that is a metaphor – the wings of time and even the picture of Father Time as an actual person is improbable (OK, impossible!).  Secondly, what does that mean – time flies?  Is this a thought about speed?  Or the ability to become less than earthbound (for us humans who love our freedom!)?  Thirdly – OK, you get the idea . . .

With that out of my system (which system, you ask?), only two months remain.  On July 13th I will be getting remarried. 

Since we became engaged in January, we’ve tried to add up the days  we have seen each (literally – being able to look in each other’s eyes!).  We think we have too many fingers.  If you caught that convoluted way of adding up how few days we have seen each other, I would love to have you as my accountant!

On Friday, Cynthia and I ventured to Ontario to be at my brother’s graduation (with a Doctorate in Theology).  This is now the longest stretch of consecutive days we have seen each other.   

The opportunity to be together is heightened by the realization that my brother is also officiating our wedding.  So we have been talking ceremony, and graduating to a new era in our lives, amongst many other related topics.

Which brings me to time flying, two months and graduating. 

Did you just see yesterday passing by and tomorrow approaching at the speed of light?  When I awoke this morning, that’s exactly what I saw!!  And I’m not so sure that was a metaphor that whizzed past my shoulder.

Inscription in remembrance

Saturday, May 11th, 2013

Yesterday I received an encouraging email.

A few months ago I had asked for permission to place a memorial to my wife who passed away a year ago (May 17, 2012) on her father/mother’s gravestone.  The official name is a plinth.

The inscription was in memory of Jill, their daughter.  The gravestone is in the Deseronto cemetery in Ontario.

The monument company was willing to prepare the plinth along with it’s inscription.  But they had not been sure when this could be done. 

I am currently in Ontario for my brother’s graduation with his doctorate (a promise made some 10 years ago). 

Combine all of these thoughts and the email arrived.  The plinth was now in place!  So today, although not originally in the plans, a quick trip was made out to Deseronto.  And the plinth was viewed.  A great memorial!!

Hospitality revisited

Wednesday, May 8th, 2013

Yesterday I  began the day with the searing and braising of a roast in a slow cooker.  Now, the recipe had stated that cooking a blade roast might take three to four hours per pound.  This roast was 5 pounds.  At the far end of the scenario spectrum, this would take 20 hours.  More likely 15 hours if I followed this pattern.

I got up and seared the roast at 3:00 am and placed it in the slow cooker.  At 8:00 am I plunged the thermometer into the roast.  DONE!  So much for the instructions.  Took the roast out, cut it up, left it in its juices and placed it in the fridge.

Meanwhile, at the same time I read my emails.  One of them was from my guests for the evening hour.  They were unable to attend. 

So one good sized roast and no one to join me.

Throughout the day I found a couple who would be willing to join me.  And later in the afternoon, talking to another person, found that they were also available.  The only restriction was time. 

We ate from 6:00 – 7:00 and enjoyed each other’s company along with the food.  Now, that was fun!  I just enjoyed being with others and hosting them.

With the busyness of these last few months, I’m glad to be thrust back into the role of hospitality.  I’m already thinking ahead to these next few weeks to see who else I can invite over (of course, I’m quite open to being invited out as well!).

Edginess

Sunday, May 5th, 2013

I’ve noted that Spring has a certain freshness.  The air is seemingly clearer.  The sunshine is bright.  The ground just begs growth.  In fact, one person talking to me thought that within an hour’s time one plant grew an inch.

I can’t help but see this beauty.

On the other hand, allergies are most acute.  Dust begins to pollinate and pollute the air.  And people air their differences.

Often, to start with, not in a nasty way.  They have been so isolated in the last few months they suddenly feel their need for greater connection.

In past years this has morphed fairly quickly into complaints and grumbling.  There is no intended malice to begin with, just a chance comment and a low sigh.  Not always recognizable, and often overlooked.  The work of a care giver is to hear the sound and respond in kind.  A quick phone call, a short visit or perhaps even a prayer for mercy on that person who is awakening from winter.

May God grant to you and your loved ones the opportunity to take the edge off Spring.  May your days be filled with re-growth of relationship and may your love for others multiply in this time of newness of life.

Springtime and seeding

Saturday, May 4th, 2013

I’m looking out the window.  The sun has risen and the green grass is rising.  We are into spring and I’m loving it.  I can walk outside without shivering, hear song birds singing and geese honking. 

Soon the farmers will have their seeders in full gear.  Driving back from Regina on Thursday I passed a few.  They are no longer the short boxes of past years, but huge monstrosities that encompass the full road.

Although farms are much larger than yesteryear, the farmers are themselves still lovers of the land.  I talk to a number of them and this time of year holds excitement and wonder.

As I was reading my daily scriptures, I came across another person who loved the land.  His name was King Uzziah.  Here is some of the description of this king:

10 He also built towers in the wilderness and dug many cisterns, because he had much livestock in the foothills and in the plain. He had people working his fields and vineyards in the hills and in the fertile lands, for he loved the soil. (II Chronicles 26:10 – NLT)

Uzziah would fit in well with my friends!!