Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Dragons Faced become Allies

A couple of people wondered why I write about the past. Worried, they were. No need.

If I may quote from Joy Kogawa's book Obasan about the Canadian-Japanese internment Camps ... I encourage you to read it if you haven't done. As opposed to An Unquenchable Thirst - which I needed to read, but only you will know if you feel you want to. Meantime, after writing that post about it, the book lost its power, and is sitting passively on a table as if it hadn't come to life - as if it was all in my imagination. It wasn't.

From page 42 of Obasan:
“Life is so short,” I said, sighing, “the past so long. Shouldn’t we turn the page and move on?”

“The past is the future,” Aunt Emily shot back.

Yup - the past affects our futures.  Not that we should live in our pasts, but when our pasts roar like dragons - well, grab your spear or whatever, mount your steed, and head out to confront it.  Actually - wrong image or only part of the image - go out and make friends with it. Like Puff the Magic Dragon? Killing it isn't the answer. Dragons have things to tell us - and p'raps we find they are little anolis :-) with huge shadows that scared us.

In Haiti we called these critters anolis (photo taken in St. Peter's Church yard)

Dragons faced become our allies and can be turned into effective ministry. Dragons denied continue to haunt us and colour our lives and experiences, fears and uncertainties. Probably mixing metaphors here. 

I am well and at peace - weary tonight after my first swim since before Christmas, physio this afternoon after lunch with friends from St. Barnabas, and a bunch of errands done.

I want to say something more about Mary Johnson and her book - to be clear the amount of love that was in it - her struggles for truth and healing - her longings - her courage in facing truths and eventually leaving the community - her thirst ... and I want to make clear - though I hardly know how to express it - the love I had for my community - for the religious life - that I gave my whole self. I was going to say, "but it wasn't enough." And that would be the old way of looking at it. It was enough - I am enough - we are enough. A lifelong journey ... And it was good. And it IS good.

Enough for now - except I want to add some photos - of life ... these ones from Bermuda, Gram's home and one of my homes... 

Somers Gardens, St. George's

The Virtue family pew, shared with my Gram's family -
looking to the slave gallery in the upper background
Bermuda cedar ... mmmmm.... 

Tobacco Bay - Gram's playground so long ago

St. Peter's Church where Gram was baptized in 1891
Oldest Anglican Church in continual use in the western hemisphere


Olga and her Mum not long before Anita died at almost 100
Nursing home where the old army barracks were in St. George's
Cousins in the Virgin family

I suddenly realized why Gram had so many morning glories
when we were children in Montreal South

Where I danced with my female ancestors, some of whom I had yet to discover


  1. You really need to write a book yourself my friend. You have such a way with words.
    hugs, Judy

  2. Yes, such a way with words, as "Anonymous" wrote and so, so much to share that would be gift to others! You have a thirst for truth, for fathoming the unknown and for embracing all that's discovered on the quest. As I suggest in my "Harbour Day" workshop, until we embrace all aspects of our lives, we are impeding our chances of living life in all it's fullness - we impede our journey to "Wholeness". Pain and anguish is part of the process, but in retrospect we can see that Grace was flowing... and healing. Can't wait for your book, Ros, to hit the press!

    1. Tomorrow will be todays yesterday....:)