Archive for April, 2014

Walk the block

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

Last night we were on our way around the block together.  The exercise was important to our lives – both my wife and I are over our usual weight, and other body measurements agree.  We walked fairly fast, not sweat breakingly fast, but fast enough.

As we walked up the main street of our town, I noticed a truck pass us and pull into park.  Out jumped a friend of mine who had moved to another town a few years ago.

He was currently in town to do some training for his company.  His wife had hoped to accompany him, but had end of church year events happening.

As we approached each other, I was glad to see him.  He was an encouragement to me in my ministry, and continues to connect with the church and myself.

As we shook hands, I introduced him to my wife.  He was glad to meet her and expressed that.  Our conversation ranged over family, church, fun and life in general.

Walking away, I realize that God somehow allows circumstances that otherwise I am unable to plan.  For this I am thankful!

The sun rises

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

When you cast your thoughts back a few months, 6:00 in the morning was steeped in darkness.  Today the shades of orange tinge the sky as I write these thoughts.

I have been reminded that almost two years have passed since my first wife, Jill, passed away.  I am working on some arrangements for that day that will be a reminder and I hope an encouragement.

Days were dark as that winter season in life began.  I have had many thankful days since.  I want to gather those “thankfulnesses” into a group.  I’m not sure how that will look at this moment, but I know that I am called by God to be thankful. 

I also want to touch base with people.  Perhaps this is the hardest – and I realize the intensity of a death brought many people back into my life.  As things normalized (or took on a new normal), the  need for constant contact became less.  Now, as part of that thankfulness, touching base again would be helpful.

As I write these words, I also recognize the various levels of grief that surface at a time like this.  For all the projects and plans, I know that I must leave space for “alone” grief first.  As much as pushing forward into a new day is necessary, releasing the past day is also necessary.  Both make for health.

So, if my plans are delayed, that is just what it is.  The delay will not be a lack of care for others, but a time for me to relive, refocus and renew.

Now, I have to ask myself – how am I going to carve out that space in my life?

Back home

Monday, April 28th, 2014

A week of holidays where sickness alternated.  That is one way to describe this past week.

The other is to say that positives abounded.  Good times of discussion with my wife.  Purchases of various items on sale – the timing was right.  Visits with enjoyable relatives. 

In a day and age where criticism is easy and thankfulness is secondary, the choice of gratitude is my starting point for this day!

For the ride

Thursday, April 24th, 2014

Our hope is that we can get away for holiday days today.  Sickness has kept us from venturing too far – but today rings with hope anew.

As I look over the years, riding can have many different affects!

As a young child, I tended to get a bit sick on my rides in the car.  I liked to sit at the front of a bus.  I also found long rides were times to sleep – a thing I did quite often as a young adult with a musical touring group, for a year’s time.  Missed a lot of the beautiful countryside of Canada and United States but was able to sing each night.

As a young adult, I enjoyed riding with friends and with my spouse.  These were times of banter and deep discussion.  There was a true sense of camaraderie and bonds that have lasted for decades.  I remember one trip where I was in a persuasive mood.  The fellow I was travelling with was wondering if he should marry a young lady he had met.  They have been married for over three decades!

I wonder what other findings you have had as you have travelled the roads over the years?

Where cross the paths

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

I have a friend in hospital. 

Today was picture day – dropping off some photos.

As I approached the front door of the hospital, the hospital administrator approached me with a question regarding our spiritual care committee.  Quick thoughts were exchanged and I headed in the door. 

Said “hi” to nursing staff – took a quick look into some rooms to see who had been discharged.  Dropped off the photos.  Headed back down past the reception desk and said “hi” to the receptionist.  Then back to my car.

All on a holiday afternoon.

Life is comprised of those times when life is . . . regardless of how things are linked to work or volunteer activities or friends or the world around us.  Sometimes to compartmentalize life helps to decide work hours or achievement but in the end, is life about power, wealth or people?  I choose the side of people.

On meeting a friend

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014

I think the toughest part of life is that we all want to have a reason to move into a new day.  This past week, I met a friend who has mental health struggles.  Arising from bed in the morning is no easy task.  Having friends who care and expectations from a job give at least some incentive.  Even then, the struggle is great.

As I reflected on his life, I am reminded that each day is a gift.  Opening the day means that we are shown what is ours, and we are reminded that our task is to grab the gift – not just look at it.

I suppose for some the hesitation comes from disappointment or even violence when they have sought out a gift.  For others of us, we are so distracted with the ruts we have created in life we miss the better path.  For my friend, the imbalance of chemicals may create a fog as he seeks the gift of a new day.

May we all enter this new day trusting that God, who is good, will give to us a great gift of a new day. This is the day the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it.

Good Friday

Friday, April 18th, 2014

Talking with some Junior Hi students the other day, they remarked that Good Friday is both good and bad.

From our perspective, on the other side of two millenia, we see and understand the good.  There is forgiveness of sin and a sacrifice that was made.  There is a surety in the sacrifice for all time – with a resurrection of the one who was sacrificed.

But, for those in a place of not knowing the future.   For those who stood at a cross and saw a death, life was finished.  And now another chapter needed to begin.

That chapter would spell grief in big letters, and then who knows?

Hide away for a while?  Your first night without that person is spent in shock, and then the society’s approach to grieving kicks in.  You do what needs to be done, and hold the questions until later.  The second night you sneak a peek at the future and just want to be close to the one who died.

Day three?

Sing a song

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

Last night was the double header for our choir.

The community group has practiced for the last few months.  Unfortunately my schedule meant I was only present for 1/2 the practice time.

In that time, I had seen most of the music, although our first concert on Sunday showed that I had missed singing one of the songs in full.

Sunday’s concert went well.  The room was somewhat dull, but the microphones were helpful.

Last night was in an acoustically primed room.  The sounds of human voices just bounced and returned, reverberated and resounded.  As you caught a breath for the next phrase, you could hear the whole choir breathe.

Now, that is what makes for unified singing.  Being able to hear each other even to the extent of sensing the next heartbeat of the music.  The men’s chorus hit their stride.  The Easter cantata was exhilarating.  The sense of the power of music to touch the inner person was there.

That’s when doing music is more than just an activity, it is a joy!

Preparing for Holy Days

Monday, April 14th, 2014

In a weeks time I will be taking some days off.

I’m not quite sure what the agenda will be yet.  Certainly finding a way to put distance between work and myself.  The consuming nature of a job you love makes time off a difficulty.

Difficult, not in the sense of others who are willing to step in and step up.  That can and will be done.  Difficult in the sense that my own heart feels the need to cover just a few more things.  A protection needs to be in place for all the efforts that are currently being undertaken.

That is my heart.  On one hand this is a compassionate gesture.  On the other hand there is a need to trust those to whom things are delegated.

And so, for the next few days I will see what can be done to blend compassion and delegation.  And next Monday I will begin days that are set aside (holy) days.

Palms and age

Sunday, April 13th, 2014

I have lived in the church for 60 years.  Since I was born, I have been taken to church.  I expect I will be taken to church in my old age.

The church calendar sees today as Palm Sunday.  I remember that palm branches that children waved on “the way.”  They are lined up at the back of the church and process, with some ohs and ahs, to the front.  An appropriate song about the little children is sung.

I wonder, now that I am older, if there were not older people waving palm branches as well.  What would a Palm Sunday service look like if it was just the seniors?

Or, more rightly, as some churches have done – the procession is filled with all generations.  Mothers scolding children for getting too close to the pews on either side.  Teens looking at each other to be sure they “were doing this right”.  Seniors being pushed in wheel chairs, directing their helpers to watch out for the person in front.

And then we realize this is about Jesus and not us.  And the whole thing becomes chaotic.  Shouts erupt and we don’t know where else to look – because there is only one look and that is to Jesus.

Maybe, just maybe . . . that’s not too far off the first triumphal entry.