Saturday, 26 January 2013

Margaret, Memories, and Meaning



Today, I visited an old friend, Margaret, at a residence in Knowlton. Margaret's 90 and while a little frailer than this time last year, before she fell on ice and broke her hip, she's still her old self. Spunky. Fun. Honest. We had lunch together in the dining room - at the second sitting to give me time to arrive. We laughed afterwards. It was more exciting than first sitting has ever been. 

A man yelled, "I don't like you talking to me in that tone." "I'm not!" "You are!!" "I'm not!"

One lady stripped her sweater off because she was hot, revealing her bra. The other lady at her table kept telling her it wasn't a nice thing to do. Other ladies at the table next to ours were muttering a bit meanly about it all. I said to Margaret, but loudly enough for them to hear, "We don't know what we'll be like." 

And it's true, we don't. The woman who removed her sweater is a gentle soul who has severe memory loss. She was crying in a chair by the elevator earlier this morning and again at noontime. It reminds me of a woman at another nursing home a few years ago. I was visiting a friend, and there was a loud, pitiful and piercing cry from a woman down the hall, "GOD! Where are you? GOD!! Where are you?" 

Good question. 

Elie Wiesel in Night tells the story of a youngster being hanged in the concentration camp, swinging and taking forever to die because he was so light. Everyone else was forced to watch. A man near Wiesel asked softly, "Where is God?" And the answer was, "God is there - hanging there." 

After hearing the CBC radio documentary "Genius Born of Anguish : The Life and Legacy of Henri Nouwen" I discovered the book of the same title. Friends of his had a daughter, born prematurely, who died at four hours old in her parents' arms. Rebecca. Henri came to them immediately and stayed. One day he said to the Dad, in his tears, "Jonas, you know that Jesus lost Rebecca, too." Robert Jonas writes, "At first I did not understand what he meant, but then it penetrated deeper and deeper into my consciousness: there was a larger grief that I was participating in, and that it wasn't just my loss. He de-centered my grief; he shifted the attention from my ego to a larger space in which God was participating personally in my life, and in everything that i was experiencing, no matter how bad it was." 

There's another book I read long ago called Why, God? An American Presbyterian pastor searches the Bible for meaning in the deaths of two of his children. At the end, he writes that there are no answers. The Bible doesn't provide answers. WE are the answers. We, in our love and compassion with others in their suffering, are  LIVING answers to suffering. Incarnational theology?

Margaret and I chatted about old times, rabbits, churches, the world, Mum and Dad, her Mum and family. Nothing much. :-) Margaret was one of the fourth generation of children to be born at their Highland Farm in South Bolton. Or was it third, and her grandfather was brought as an infant? Hugs are good. Love is good. Stories shared .... all good. 


To be continued ...



Friday, 25 January 2013

Secrets and the Church


I wrote this poem a long time ago - probably twenty years ago - and still it throbs with meaning for us and our church today. I actually have come to believe that it has more to do with protecting the church's image than protecting people who abuse children - either today or in the past.

Secrets

The Church is into the protection business.
A travesty of sanctuary.
We have to protect the bastards.
It wouldn’t do for anyone to know.
Cut out the tongues of victims
Blind their eyes
Spin webs of silence
round and round them
Suck out their lifeblood
then discard the case.
But don’t, for God’s sake,
hold the perpetrators accountable.
They were, after all,
abused themselves
or immature
or won’t (they promise)
commit these obscene acts again.
“Forgive,” they say.
“Aren’t we all good Christians?”
“Good Christian men rejoice
with heart and soul and voice…”
the birth of one who said,
“The truth shall set you free.”
So why, in God’s name,
don’t we encourage those
whose names were torn in shreds
in offices and choir lofts
to speak their truth?
Forgiveness is for God.
Who will protect our children,
if not the Church?

Poem by Lorna Goodison - On Becoming a Tiger -




On Becoming a Tiger 

The day that they stole her tiger’s-eye ring
Was the day that she became a tiger.
She was inspired by advice received from Rilke

Who recommended that, if the business of drinking
Should become too bitter,
That one should change oneself into wine.

The tiger was actually always asleep
Inside her, she had seen it
Stretched out, drowsing and inert

When she lay upon her side and stared
For seven consecutive days into a tall mirror     
That she had turned on its side.

Her focus had penetrated all exterior
Till at last she could see within her
A red glowing landscape of memory and poems,

A heart within her heart
And lying there big, bright, and golden
Was the tiger, wildly, darkly striped.

At night she dreams that her mother
Undresses her and discovers that, under
Her outerwear, her bare limbs are marked

With the broad and urgent striations
Of the huge and fierce cat of Asia
With the stunning golden quartz eyes.

She has taken to wearing long dresses
To cover the rounded tail coiling behind her.
She has filled her vases with tiger lilies

And replaced her domestic cat
With a smaller relative of hers, the ocelot.
At four In the morning she practices stalking

Up and down the long expanse of the hall.
What are the ingredients in tiger’s milk?
Do tigers ever mate for life?

Can she rewrite the story of Little Black Sambo?
Can a non-tiger take a tiger for a wife?
To these and other questions,

She is seeking urgent answers
Now that she is living an openly           
Tigerly life.

Lorna Goodison in Selected Poems





Poems by Alla Renée Bozarth in Womanpriest


Call

There is a new sound
Of roaring voices in the deep                                            
And light-shattered rushes in the heavens.     
The mountains are coming alive,
The fire-kindled mountains
Moving again to reshape the earth.
It is we sleeping women,
Waking up in a darkened world,
Cutting the chains
From off our bodies with our teeth,
Stretching our lives over the slow earth,
Seeing, moving, breathing in the vigour
That commands us to make all things new.

It has been said that while the women sleep
The earth shall sleep. But listen!
We are waking up and rising,
And soon our sister will know her strength.
The earth-moving day is here.
We women wake to move in fire.
The earth shall be remade.                

Alla Renée Bozarth in Womanpriest

WATER WOMEN

We do not want
to rock the boat,
you say, mistaking
our new poise                                      
for something safe.

We smile secretly
at each other,

sharing the reality
that for some time
we have not been
in the boat.         

We jumped
or were pushed
or fell
and some leaped
overboard.

Our bodies form
a freedom fleet,
our dolphin grace
is power.

We learn and teach
and as we go
each woman sings;
each woman’s hands
are water wings.

Some of us have become
mermaids or Amazon whales
and are swimming for our lives.

Some of us do not know how to swim, 
We walk on water.

Alla Renée Bozarth in Womanpriest
She was one of the “Philadelphia 11” –
the first women ordained in the Episcopal Church (in 1974)
They forced the Episcopal Church to confront the issue and
begin ordaining women.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Of Mice and Tigers


Long time ago, in Bethlehem -  oops - in Boston, at St. Margaret's Convent on Louisburg Square - I created a mouse. Named Pierre. Pierre came from Montreal, was tiny, cute, shy, cautious, thoughtful, prayed a lot, hid in dark places, spoke for me of what it meant to be little. Pierre was an image I  held of myself - a mouse - small enough to fit in Jesus' hand. Hung out by the crèche during the Christmas season. Stood at the foot of the cross and - well - I wasn't as aware of the empty tomb and resurrection in those days as I was of suffering. So foot of the cross pretty well summed things up. 

Now I'm not putting Pierre down. Pierre taught me so much both during convent days, and after my break-down/break-through he helped guide me creatively through the first years of therapy... Be good had been high on the list. Don't be angry. Don't cry. "Who was I, anyhow?" Pierre helped me ask. Gradually, Pierre began to make forays out into a world where 'negative' emotions could be expressed and seen as part of who I was - who we are as human beings. I had returned from Haiti extremely angry at the injustice, though I didn't know it. It is still difficult to shop in our massive grocery stores. I had returned from Haiti with the beginnings of awareness of being an em-bodied spirit. Long, long journey into these truths and others. 

Lo, and behold, though Pierre played a role in my journey, my truest self began to emerge reflected in the tiger. Alive! Vibrant. Fierce, yet tender. (Tigers make great Mums.)  Grace-full. Unpredictable and predictable. Mysterious. While Pierre might be cowering in a cave, my tiger has learned to speak up. One of my favourite sayings is: "Speak your mind (or heart), even if your voice shakes." 

Owning my anger means I can be direct in ways I couldn't have imagined. Owning my anger and understanding its roots means owning my passion. And, of course, anger is often a mask for other more frightening emotions :  terror, grief ...

Thich Nhat Hanh in Taming the Tiger Within : In the beginning you may not understand the nature of your anger, or why it has come to be. But if you know how to embrace it with the energy of mindfulness, it will begin to become clear to you."


THE TYGER (from Songs Of Experience)    William Blake


Tyger! Tyger! burning bright 
In the forests of the night, 
What immortal hand or eye 
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?


In what distant deeps or skies 
Burnt the fire of thine eyes? 
On what wings dare he aspire? 
What the hand dare sieze the fire?

And what shoulder, & what art. 
Could twist the sinews of thy heart? 
And when thy heart began to beat, 
What dread hand? & what dread feet?

What the hammer? what the chain? 
In what furnace was thy brain? 

What the anvil? what dread grasp 
Dare its deadly terrors clasp? 


When the stars threw down their spears, 
And watered heaven with their tears, 
Did he smile his work to see? 
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright 
In the forests of the night, 
What immortal hand or eye 
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry? 

1794



"... the tiger evokes a reverence, dread, and wonder accorded no other animal." Spell of the Tiger : the Man-eaters of Sundarbans  by Sy Montgomery ... she continues to describe some of the religious links with the tiger... "some of the gods choose the tiger as their vahana, or vehicle. In Hindu mythology, a vahana does not carry a god in the ordinary sense that a car carries a passenger. Rather, as religious historian Wendy Doniger points out, the mount carries the god "in the way a breeze 'carries' a perfume." The tiger is permeated, saturated with the god's force and power, imbued with the essence of the god itself." "I love it. I just, just love it," as the little curly haired girl in the apple sauce commercials used to say ... 

I'm not about to switch faiths - though I truly believe every faith is a path to God ... but I'm reminded of Francis Xavier, an Anglican priest who came to us from Sri Lanka, telling us, "We western Christians have taken the Lion of Judah, de-clawed him, and turned him into a tame pussy cat." Might God speak to us through a tiger as well? God certainly speaks to me this way. :-)

A Maggie Muggins Sized Box



Maggie's box - wanna play?
A box arrived of Easter bulletin covers, letterhead, and church envelopes. A Maggie Muggins sized box! Her immediate reaction, of course, was to climb right in. Curiosity. A sense of fun and playfulness. Seize the moment! This is for ME! It's MINE! Oh yes, life is good! 

I remember Bishop Jim MacLean preaching at Diocesan College many years ago about Zaccheus, who, apparently short, climbed a sycamore tree to see Jesus as he passed by. Jesus looked up and saw Zaccheus, and invited him to join him for tea and crumpets with strawberry jam and Devon cream, or whatever. Jim MacLean told us, "Zaccheus was curious. Never stop being curious." We were taught not to ask too many questions - and of course, there is information we neither need nor should have. But to be curious about life - ahhh - now that's the way to live. Daffodils - how many shades of yellow? How do crickets chirp? What do the shapes of clouds tell us? How do we learn? What is it (within or without?) that calls us to grow? Who is God? How many names are there for God? How do people of other faiths explain the unexplainable? How do children think? How can we be of any significance in a vast universe of stars and galaxies, black holes and infinity? What does it mean to love? To be loved?

Well... I'm going to play with Maggie. I hear a stir - something soft dragging across the floor - and I look up and Maggie has brought me her toy - the mouse-like critter on the end of a strip of leather - perfect for dancing and leaping and having fun. Let's keep on playing, y'all! And keep on being curious. The best thing about being curious (and therefore alive) is that we can be curious together - ask questions - explore - live in the mystery of no easy answers. I was reminded today that faith isn't the same as certainty. There is no certainty. The journey,  however, is ... well - filled with joy, sorrow, questions, friends, mysterious cats, tarantulas (unfortunately), Haiti,  music, memories, .... What do you think?

Even Annie, at 11, is reclaiming her playful spirit since Zeke's death and the subsequent arrival of that pesky, super-energetic, kitten. Hardly a fffttt or a grrrrr or a rrrooowwrr to be heard these days. Annie hears sounds of play and comes to investigate. Curious! :-) And then in her limited, and slightly arthritic way, she joins the fun. I dropped the laser pointer and broke it, though - and that's their favourite!  :-(

Sooo ... find a box to play in! Or remember creating forts with blankets and cushions and the dining  room table? I just may try that. Wonder what the cats will think?

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Daffodils, Mum, and Memories

Daffodil under fresh fallen snow - Trinity College, Oxford
the day after Nick and Rachel's wedding in early April, 2008

Wordsworth's Daffodils
Daffodils are one of our family symbols of warmth and laughter. Mum must have memorized Wordsworth's poem as a child in school. So did we. At any moment, driving hither and yon (we did a lot of that as a family), Mum would begin to spout, "I wandered lonely as a cloud...." We had daffies in the garden when we were growing up on Lafayette in Montreal South. There were daffies at Mum's and Burt's home in South Bolton. Mum travelled to the UK, including Wordsworth country, all alone when her divorce from Dad became final and as it was spring, she 'wandered lonely as a cloud..." In 2008, I was in the UK for the first time in the spring - to preside at Nick and Rach's wedding. I saw daffodils gently dancing in the breeze everywhere, and lambs hopping and skipping about the fields... Spring! Hope. New life.

Daffodils are such a joy-full flower. Sometimes, gazing at a daffodil, it feels as if God has just created yellow. Tomorrow it will be 18 years since Mum died. A young 75. She battled cancer with such courage. She stared it in the eye and would not let it get her down. She attended Kevin and Monica's wedding and danced with the groom. She would be so very proud to see her grandchildren grown up, and her great-grandchildren in the process of doing so - creative, courageous, loving, and wonder-full. She'd love them to bits. P'raps she does from afar - or from as near as our breaths and memories.

The day of her funeral at St. Mark's, Longueuil, we had daffodils covering her coffin. Such a blaze of yellow and of life.

We remember you, Mum, with so much love. We had daffodils for you at church this morning, and we recited Wordsworth's poem for you. And when they flash upon my inward eye, I remember you. So, here's the poem ... I hope you're saying it with us ... 


I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud

by William Wordsworth
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Thanks, Lee

The Revd C. Leland (Lee) Udell

Tomorrow, I head to Burlington, VT for the funeral of my CPE (chaplaincy) supervisor, mentor and friend, Lee Udell. The top photo is how I remember Lee in the two back-to-back units (1989 - 1990) I took at what is now Fletcher Allen Medical Center in Burlington. Lee had severe glaucoma and his sight was greatly impaired - but his insight into human lives, particularly at our most vulnerable, was clear and touching. He was a lean, lanky gentle and good man whose joy was infectious. I'm trying to make sense of this - that he's no longer there. He just was. There. I got caught up in ministry in Montreal, and didn't pay too much attention to Lee for a number of years - as in visiting. He was just there in the background of my mind and haert. In the last while, he began to fail physically and I made it a point to journey south an hour and three quarters (no matter the weather, traffic at the border, it worked out to the same time ... ) to see him.

These last times, Sue and Lee were both at The Arbors, a nursing home in Shelburne, so we'd get together in Sue's room and share communion and the Gospel. Gently. Quietly. And I'd try not to remember that Lee had been my supervisor, and wonder if I measuring up. Apparently I did - not that it matters in the large scheme of things - because once he burst out (seeming to have gone inwards) with, "You're awesome!" He was referring to the sharing I was willing to do of my self, my journey, and to connect it to the reality that our ministry doesn't end when we are in nursing homes, blind and/or weak. Lee was still a priest. Lee and Sue both had ministries. And one of the reasons I can say this? Lee taught me well - to respect my gifts and limits, to be creative in ministry (Tuesday School on Baird 5, the pediatric floor where I worked for both CPE units). It's taken many years to hear some of Lee's message - to be able to cry as I am now, for instance. Right now, well - I hope he gives my love to Bonnie, Heidi, Mallory, Val ... and the other children who lived fully in their short lives, and who touched so many of us. And who continue to. I don't know what comes next. Or sometimes, if ... but I choose to believe. 

Whatever comes next, you changed lives, Lee. I'm glad I told you that you changed mine. Grief is hard work. It's a choice, too. We don't choose to die - it comes with the life territory. We can choose to grieve and in so doing, to live. Thanks, Lee. You were awesome. You played a significant role in my being able to own my awesome-ness - we're ALL awesome!

You taught me that our families may have had limitations (ok - whose family didn't??) , but that as we mature, we get parts of what we need from many different people. You let me say, "I'm not ready to see an entire autopsy yet," and agreed to my request when I was able to adequately explain. You helped me learn it's ok to be hugged. I'm still learning. Imagine! Well, we all have our little hang-ups and holdovers from childhood. You listened with your heart. I'm not suggesting you were perfect... but perfect wasn't supposed to be what we were after. Vulnerable. Wounded healers. Loving listeners to the silent stories behind walls we humans use to protect ourselves.

You delighted in the stories from Baird 5 - to reactions to Tuesday School and the God stories that we shared. If you see our children, please tell Bonnie thanks for helping me learn to get in touch with my inner brat, and Heidi thanks for the late night chats in the rocking chair when she told me that when we get to heaven everyone will have what they need to eat - including lambs. And tell Val thanks for her mischievous courage and wee Mallory that I always remember her when I see the Adirondacks and that I still call them Mallory's mountains. Tell Bonnie she still isn't allowed to call Lamb "Lambchop" because Lamb still gets scared at the idea. And Kristi - she was the first child I had the courage to share our Lamb puppet with - I can still see her explaining to Lamb how the IV was giving her medicine. And Clare - little light. Their photos are all in my Bible. I need a photo of you to join them. 

Lee, journey in peace. I miss you. I really don't want to go to your funeral and admit you aren't there any more. That's the truth. And the other truth is, I will go and I will certainly cry, probably laugh, and give God such thanks for you.



Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Wonderful Haitian sculpture in Port-au-Prince

I found the original photo and scanned it in its entirety
Sculpture in Port-au-Prince, photo taken when I attended Fernande's ordination - 
the first woman priest ordained in Haiti (c2003)

Was the sculpture destroyed in the earthquake?

Monday, 14 January 2013

Baptisms and things


Sunday we celebrated the Baptism of Jesus. I love the Jesus Mafa images of an African Jesus. And one of my all-time favourite photos is of me baptising McKenna last summer in the lake at Camp Kinkora. Joy! 

It's also been many months since I visited La Nativité, our Haitian parish - and a good time to go and be with my sisters and brothers the day after the 3rd anniversary of the earthquake. I am reminded each time of the power of culture as expressed through language and music. The French hymns are all right - traditional and mostly translated from 200+ year old English to French. Something is missing.  When the singing is in Creole - well - the roof lifts, the passion and enthusiasm are so moving I can hardly stand it. I sway and clap along with everyone else and re-connect to my body. It's real. Earthy in an entirely positive sense. After all, we are of the earth. Aarrgghhh... words are good, but so limiting. Suffice it to say the service was enlivening, refreshing, with a dynamic and challenging sermon to boot. mainly in Creole, and I understood most of it. Need more practice. Maybe now that I am 'half-retired' I can join La Nativité more often.

The only sad thing - I was sick and missed celebrations on January 1st - so no soupe joumou :-(    For those of you not connected to the Haitian community, January 1st is Independence Day. Soupe joumou contains all the ingredients Haitians as slaves cultivated for their masters, but were forbidden to eat. It has a base of pumpkin or squash, and is thick with vegetables and meat. My mouth waters as I write ... the only thing closer to heavenly food is mayi moulen ak saus (sp?) pwa. Corn meal and black bean sauce. Mmmm mmmm mmmm. 






Saturday, 12 January 2013

Musings on being human


I'm getting into a writing mood, and began by simply making some notes. A whole lot of things have come together in the last week or so that just seem to fit together - accidents ("There are no accidents. Our guide is Aslan."). Turning the radio on at random. Several times. A link on facebook for CBC Radio - Part 1 of "Genius Born of Anguish" about Henri Nouwen with in depth references to Anton Boisen, the founder of CPE, Boisen was a pastor who suffered from schizophrenia and who came to view his illness (and psychiatric hospitalizations - yes!) as spiritual experiences and then helped the rest of us to wade deeper into the oceans of faith, humanity, and ministry. Boisen was the inspiration (I didn't know this) for Henri Nouwen's writings and speaking of wounded healers.     


Then I picked up a book that's been lying about for a couple of months (Made for Goodness by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Mpho Tutu, his daughter, an Anglican priest). He spoke to my heart - and as it turns out, :-) my heart and longings are simply our human hearts' longings - to belong, to be loved, to be part of community, to live out of goodness, which he contrasts with 'being good' !! Hmmm... Not me! You? Ahem!

Here's a paragraph from Made for Goodness
"Science testifies that goodness is a survival strategy. God created us to depend on each other for our very lives. As primatologist Frans de Waal explains, "We belong to the category of animals known among zoologists as 'obligatorily gregarious,' meaning that we have no option but to stick together. This is why fear of ostracism lurks in the corners of every human mind: being expelled is the worst thing that can befall us. It was so in biblical times, and it remains so today. Evolution has instilled a need to belong and to feel accepted. We are social to our core." p. 14. You'll have to read the rest of it yourselves.  :-)

OK - so I am often driven by a saying "Speak the truth, even if your voice shakes." Speaking the truth can lead to being effectively ignored, left in silence. Yes, it happens. and yet, we have to answer to God in the end, eh? We're then sometimes thrown back into early stories in our lives - and then - God given - we realize that we have friends. There are people who see us as we are and rejoice in our growth. Humility, contrary to my earlier understanding of it, is honesty – to own one’s strengths and weaknesses and to act out of one’s strengths

In 1983, when I was still in Boston and trying to decide whether or not I could return to the convent (after my own journey to the Pit, including psychiatric hospitalizations), Sister Rhoda was dying of cancer. I visited her often after work. One day she sat by the desk in her infirmary room, light breezes moving the curtains. She had gone inwards, as the dying are apt to do. When she 'came back out,' and opened her eyes, I asked if there was anything I could do for her. She said, "Remember me." Echoes. Of "Do this to remember me..." We all want to be remembered. To matter. I received a gift from Sister Marjorie Raphael a few weeks ago. SMR was Mother when I was at the convent. She reminded me that now that I was retiring from so much activity, I could return to the contemplative self that I am. She saw me and remembered me - even after all these years. We've been sharing thoughts on life, death, and meaning. 

I began to realize there are others - from the convent. There were especially Sr Rosemary, Sr. Mary Eleanor, Sr Rhoda, and Sr, Winifred - all of whom have journeyed past me into whatever comes next. They saw me. We loved each other. We aren't alone. I'm not.

I spent two days with Lisa, Josh and Lisa's boyfriend, Kevin. Then Monica and nephew Kevin invited me to Trenton and I spent two days with the rest of my family - Holly and Cody, Mark, Taylor and Nathan (all except Sandi and Jim who are happily gallivanting with their trailer in the southwest US). Family. Another form of belonging. Roots discovered. Friends and family here, there, and about - in all corners of the globe - community in so many ways.  

Then there are lots of goings on - Idle No More - which I support. First Nations peoples rising up after the last straw - an omnibus bill passed by the Harper Conservative government that - well - read up on it if you like - treaties ignored, 1000's of lakes and rivers unprotected, selling out to China (oil), poisons beyond belief as a result of the Alberta tar sands... and of course, the ongoing extreme poverty on many reservations, lack of educational facilities, inadequate (understatement) housing, youth suicides 15 times the rate of the rest of the youth suicides in Canada... horrors that resulted from the residential schools ... 

And then today in the car I turned on the radio - and they were discussing a program in Ottawa that helps Inuit and Inuk people who want to get their lives together - free of alcohol and drugs, and find healing. After the 8 weekly meetings, they go to the land for a weekend, and healing often takes root. At the end of the program, the journalist said. "These are my heroes." And I cried. And I remember people like our Johnny at the Mission who suffered a life of abuse and tragedies beyond our comprehension - and who cares about other people, who has a sense of humour, who struggles ... who said at Connie's funeral, "She gave me clothes, She fed me. She loved me. I'm going to miss her." Who often asked, "Why do you care about me? Why do you love me?" And my reply in variation (and Lori's): "Johnny, you have suffered so much. You are alive. In your heart, you are a GOOD man." I'd call him a miracle. Johnny is one of my heroes. There are so many. 

Oh, yes!
I hope it's ok to put images from facebook on a blog :-)

So ... all of these pieces are helping me with a new living stained glass window. Recognizing in new ways that we are all on the same often lonely journey, longing for the same things. To be loved. To belong. To be part of community (family or otherwise). To be seen as we are, accepted and loved. To be remembered in the deep sense that includes all the former... 

I'd appreciate your prayers as I grow into what it means to have left Mile End, continue in the parish, wait for word after an MRI re the sciatica, and write ... and breathe and work with our Haitian sisters and brothers in the long term - remembering meaning to continue to act ... 


Epiphany - Gospel Light - St. CHL, January 6, 2013


Remembering Haiti


It's three years today since the catastrophic earthquake in Haiti. I'm wondering if this sculpture survived the quake. Whether it did or not , the people survived. Haiti lives. Contrary to some reports, Haiti lives. It takes a long time to move masses of rubble, to rebuild or build homes, but hope abounds. The Haitian people are nothing if not resilient, and they are much more. Check out good news stories - beauty, change, development. Education. City gardens.

Check out Sister Sarah's Excellent Adventure - her Mini Rant for today. Check out the Primate's World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF) - to project we began in Montreal called Apeti pou aprann - a school lunch program in an region that was close to the epicentre. Volunteer Moms spend 10-11 hours a day journeying to the schools, preparing a nutritious lunch, feeding the children, and cleaning up.

Since I have just begun this blog, I'm not sure how it operates. However, I'll try to add the links.

Sister Sarah's Excellent Adventure

http://pwrdf.org/category/region/latin-america-caribbean-stories/


A beginning. When the news is full of horror stories (real suffering) we can lose sight of the good news - and Good News. Wonder-full things are happening out there.

Remembering our sisters and brothers in Haiti - and those of the diaspora - and giving thanks for courage, determination, resilience, joy, and all of the good things happening ...