Faith from the Edges

Faith and life from the perspective of me.

Archive for the tag “writing”

Bye, Bye 2016! Hello 2017!

A lot can happen in a year as we all know. 2016 for me has been all about the recovery. Recovery from cancer treatment and then recovery from the depression caused by having cancer. Seeing my hair grow and finally being able to get it cut and then needing another cut and getting a colour! The two pictures above were essentially taken a year apart. I am so grateful to have made it through all the cancer rigamarole and to mostly be feeling more myself.

There has been much that was good about last year and I don’t want to forget that as we say farewell to this past year.

I am grateful for all the family time the dear one and I got in this year. Time with his folks, time with my folks, time with our adult lovelies, time to take an extra special holiday to the west coast with two nieces and a nephew. How much fun did we all have on our adventures each day! We celebrated his parents 60th wedding anniversary – have to admit that is a life goal of mine. We got almost three weeks with our younger daughter before she headed off on her big adventure overseas.

I am also grateful that this year has been a good one as far as my ministry within the church. I have met many fine folk in this diocese who are committed to the work of reconciliation between Indigenous and settler in Canada and in particular our part of Canada. They want to educate themselves, they want to build up relationships, they want the church to become part of that story. This work keeps me energized in so many important ways.

The dear one and I celebrated 30 years of marriage this year and that really is a high point for both of us. We have been through so much together – both good, bad, silly, humdrum, fantastic and boring. We still look at each other and are amazed by the others love and are ever so grateful.

Here’s the tough stuff. No one warns, or at least not in my hearing, cancer survivors of the high rate of depression following treatment. I mean, really, you don’t think that someone’s emotional and mental health are as important as their physical health. I have to say that throughout this I am extremely grateful to the dear one for supporting me through that and for my family doctor and my therapist – they both got me through the worst. So a shout out to all of you dealing with cancer and its treatment, make sure that you get the help you need to deal with the mental and emotional bits as well as the physical bits.

The rest of the tough stuff is the part of the world I have no control over. The state of politics in the world, the rise of racist, right wing ideologies that just freak me out! The state of our environment – if you are a climate change denier please do some honest to goodness research and let’s all work together to leave a better planet for future generations. The state of so many women’s lives – please hear this men, feminism is not out to destroy you, it’s out to make the world a better place for all of us. I honestly think we can all do better in this regard.

Here are some of my goals for 2017:

  1. To write here more often – it does me good to write and so I am going to commit to at least two posts a month. Oh my goodness, I just put that out there.
  2. To move more – generally this means walking for me, but I also need to get in the water more. I have to get over my ‘they will be looking at me’ fear and just move more.
  3. To drink different beers – so many good beers out there.
  4. To laugh as loudly and as often as I can.
  5. To support those dealing with cancer. It is those of us who have gone through it that can be the best supporters for those going through it.
  6. To pray each day – I know right, you’d think a Christian woman living out her faith would already do this- but you know I really need to dig down into this.
  7. Find a way to deal with my chronic pain that doesn’t spoil every bit of my life – those of you who live with chronic pain will know what I am talking about.
  8. Have more people over for meals, drinks, whatever and spread the hospitality around – it is good for me when I can do this.
  9. I am going to work hard at speaking my truth, standing up for justice, reminding others that reconciliation is necessary and possible, that a healthy environment is our gift to the future.
  10. To find beauty wherever I can – because my goodness this is a beautiful world and there are so many creative people out there, it won’t be hard to find – for me a big part of that will be found in my garden. Oh yes, I am already dreaming of spring.

Thanks dear readers for hanging in there with me. You have brought out the best in me and I appreciate that. Got any goals for 2017? I’d love to hear them. Going to leave you with some final thoughts from a hero of mine Archbishop Desmond Tutu:

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Happy New Year to one and all!!

 

 

Words for 2014

I want to start this post by apologizing to everyone. I have been away for awhile. This past fall and early winter has had some emotional health challenges for me and others that I needed to focus on. I haven’t done any writing here or much elsewhere but I am happy to say that I am back.

I was prodded by son in law’s blog on his words for 2014 words that I needed to do something about my own words for this year. Last year I chose beauty, gratitude and faith and I want to take a moment to reflect on them.

I saw a lot of beauty this year – in growing a new garden, in exploring the Cypress Hills in southwestern Saskatchewan with the dear one and other family, seeing my children growing in their independence and stretching their metaphorical wings – there was a lot of beauty this past year. Which, naturally, brings me to gratitude. I have so much to be grateful for – the dear one and I have a new home, a new parish, a new diocese to be a part of – it is amazing what stability will do for one’s state of mind. I am still working on the faith part of my life. I love the folks in our parish, I love how I have been challenged and how I have grown, but I am aware that there are moments where faith is just darn hard for me, maybe it will always be that way and maybe that is okay.

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Now for 2014 and the words for this coming year. These are in no particular order but how they came into my mind while thinking about this.

Creativity: I am aware that I need to let creativity back into my life. I need to let my mind, body and spirit play and find out what is next for me. I need to take time each day away from other distractions and just doodle, draw, write directly on paper, play with scissors, glue and construction paper – just let creativity take me where it wants and not try to control it. I haven’t made anything for just the sake of making it for a long time and I need to give myself permission to do that again. Maybe from time to time I will share what I have created here. I want to let God’s creativity bounce around in me again.

Delight: This is somewhat connected to last year’s words of beauty and gratitude, but it is something that I want to continue with this year. I want to delight more in what is around me and who I am with and where I am and not be busy thinking about, planning for, worrying about what is coming next. It is about being present in the moment and with the ones I am with. It is about taking delight in each thing – a kiss from the dear one, the spring rain, a call from a loved family member, the gift of each new day. To take delight in the place that God has put me and remember the wonder of being alive.

Grace: I am aware of how much grace has permeated my life and I am aware of how much I take God’s grace for granted. This next year I want to look consciously for those moments that are grace-filled. Moments where the Spirit of God can just be glimpsed dancing around the edges.  I want to be able to stop and take a look and let that grace fill me up and give me what I need and not worry if there will be more later. There is always more later. I want to show grace to others as grace has been shown to me.

Happy Anniversary ……to me

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It has been a year since I started this blog and this will be my 5oth post – not bad for the first year of writing so publicly and so personally. I want to thank all of you for hanging out here with me, reading the posts, for supporting me through prayer, conversation and affirmations – it has been an interesting year to say the least.

The joy out of this whole past year is that I survived, the dear one survived and in fact we are once again beginning to thrive. I feel in many ways that much of the past year was our time of wandering in the desert and feeling like we were in exile. I am thinking that I can say that our exile is over and that we have found a community that will be with us and that we will be with them. It is a great way to start the second year of my blogging career. I don’t know about you but I am looking forward to finding out what the next year has in store for me and for the dear one.

I am going to keep on writing and sharing with you all because you all deserve for having put up with me this last year. Let’s see what comes next!

 

Reflections

On February 26 of this year, I wrote my first blog post for my newly named site of Faith from the Edges. I am using ‘Faith from the Edges’ as that is often where I feel I live out my faith. Being a clergy spouse means that I am neither fish nor fowl – not considered a ‘real’ layperson by most in the pews and definitely not a clergy person. So someone who lives at the edges of church life.

It has been an interesting 6 months to say the least. I have been reflecting for the last couple of days about the posts that I am thankful that I wrote and for the responses that I have received to them.

I began this blog as a way for me to deal with what has been thrown at the dear one and I over the last 3 years. As a way to deal with the isolation from church community. I also began it because I am a writer and I needed a way to express myself.

Here I am 6 months later and still writing, still finding things I need to share with others, looking forward to what the next 6 months of posting will bring.

Some reflections on what I have done so far:

Early on I wrote this post about why I was struggling with Sundays. I have to admit I was scared when I posted it. I was worried that people wouldn’t understand. What I received was some of the best pastoral care I have been given during this whole awful time. I am still amazed by the outpouring of love and generosity that was shown to me during this time.  My grateful thanks to those who have held me/us up in prayer and continue to do so.

This post about depression and stigma is the one that is still rattling out there in cyberland. It has been the one that has received the most feedback. It was the next to hardest one that I have written so far. I even went so far to give a warning at the top of the post so that those who didn’t want should just give it a skip. You didn’t, you read, you responded, you told me that the dear one and I are not alone. I am still pondering what if anything I can do about the way church deals with clergy with mental health issues and their families. I do know that I will be an advocate for others when this happens to them.

A post that surprised me in the way that it came out was this lament. I can only say that it was Spirit led. It came from a deep place that I hope I will be able to tap again when I need to. I am awed that what I had thought was going to be a simple post turned into a prayer of lament.

I recently wrote this and when I was done I told the dear one I have written a statement of faith. The writing of it articulated my stance in the world in a way I hadn’t imagined it would. I am grateful for that.

I am grateful for the ability to write and to write decently. I am grateful that you the reader are taking the time to read this. I am grateful that I have access to the internet so that I can share my thoughts, feelings, reflections with others.

I am most grateful that I listened to my inner voice and took the courage to begin this process. I will continue to share what it is like to live with my faith at the edges.

Words and their power

At the beginning of this year a friend sent me a link to a blog site that deals with creativity and in particular in choosing words to help guide your year. This thought intrigued me and I begin to ponder what words I might choose for the year.

I love words. I love how they sound in our mouths. I am aware of  the power they have to both hurt and to heal. I love putting ideas into words and sharing those with others. It has been words, writing and speaking them, that have gotten me through much of the last three years. Words are how I express my feelings and concerns.

Those of you who are friends with me on Facebook will know that I usually comment a lot on others statuses and that it is a rare day that goes by that I don’t write one of my own. It is my way of saying I am here, I matter and what others are saying about me, about the dear one, about our family just don’t matter. I use words to strengthen the positive in my life when I am surrounded by so much that is negative.

I think this is one of the reasons why I am an Anglican. We like words those of us Christians that are Anglicans. We have prayer books that are full of words. Common words that we share when we pray and sing. Words that connect us, words that challenge us, words that strengthen us. I don’t know an active Anglican who when they hear the words The Lord be with you  doesn’t answer with And also with you. Words that gather us, forgive us, feed us and then send us on our way.

So now back to my words for this year. They are courage, joy, and voice. Those words have been a big part of why I started this blog.

Courage to share my story. Courage to name the grief that I have been living with. Courage to reach out to my friends and family for support.

I am looking for joy. Not big joy. Little joy. The joy of a warm spring day. The joy of a good sleep. The joy of sharing a moment of laughter with a friend.

I have needed to remember my voice. That I can speak, write and share my voice with others. That my voice matters. That I have ideas to share with others. I am taking back my voice.

Words are amazing. They help us to communicate. They give me courage and joy and voice as I live out my life of faith at the edges.

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