Yesterday, early, my son and his two friends from the Congo left on a fishing trip. They knew the window of opportunity for a nice day was pretty small. They went anyway. I hope they catch some fish because if they don’t I can think of no reason good enough to justify the craziness of fishing at this time of year. Good grief – it is -2 C up at La Ronge(a bit south of the lake they were going to) and tonight it is supposed to get down to -7C.
They, by the way, are tenting!
I guess -7 was just too cold for the campers. They came home in the night. Fishing was not that great I guess.
Things I am thankful for today
– the sun and the golden leaves
– snowgeese; fields full and skies full
– a huge turkey well roasted. Children and grandchildren to eat it with.
– Laughter together.
– Watching a terrible loss for the Roughriders(no, not thankful for the loss) dosing off and on through the game snuggled up against Leo
– Books to read
– A comfortable bed tonight
– Cold medication!
Here I am, at the end of a very nice Thanksgiving Sunday, one turkey eaten, potatoes, stuffing, corn, salad, pie, etc. We had 13 at our table today – only four more than usual actually. Tomorrow we do it all again in Saskatoon with the 5 others who couldn’t be with us today. Some of us will eat turkey twice. Yum.
It is easy to list off the great things to be thankful for; family, plenty of food, Massa and Yaunde sitting at our table instead of waiting in Cameroon, children who are finishing up studies and beginning to make their way in life. My Aunt still with us, even if her memory and mobility are a bit impaired. She can still get out and join us. There are lots of strong young men around my house happy to help get her up the steps. I love the kids. I would hate to think of life without them even at the times when they are all in my livingroom making a mess. I like it that they all feel free to come home unannounced and raid my fridge. I like it that my home is their home too – well most of the time I like it. Sometimes it gets to be too much but I don’t suppose I would trade them being in my life for anything.
And I am glad that my aunt and I could go through some pictures and sort out some to hang on her wall. There is sometimes not much to give her but the gift of our time and that is a gift we don’t have to worry about cluttering up her small space. So that was my gift to her today – sort of a late birthday gift too since on her birthday I had no time to work on her pictures.
Right now, I am trying to be very careful not to pass on my viral infection that is causing one eye to goop up and my sinuses to fill. The chest part of this bug seems to be on it’s way. Hope it is over the worst by Tuesday when I must go back to work.
In the course I am taking, one of our exercises asked us to paraphrase this verse: Psalm 42:1 As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God.
I enjoyed this paraphrase exercise. Poetry is often the way I express myself to God. So, I used the two experiences I know the best to form two metaphors that are meaningful to me. And I thought I’d share a bit of what has been keeping me busy these days.
For the first one, my children come to me for things, sometimes desperate phone calls interrupt my work and I must stop and listen. I also know the intense desire to ask my deceased mother questions with that sort of intensity described by the psalmist as thirst to a panting deer.
As my children implore my help
Desperately needing my time or resources
So, God, longing for you to mother me,
I come to you, hurt and needy.
For the second, I know that sometimes intense pain is the only reason a terrified patient will come into my office for help. Likewise, it is the really desperate pains of life that drive us to seek God.
As the pain of an abscessed tooth
Drives a fearful patient to seek help
So God let the painful hurts of my life
Send me into your care.
There! The last book review has been sent in. I finished on time, if just barely!
I had a lot to do today. It is Grace’s 19th birthday, or was since I see that this is going to be posted after midnight. We had a wonderful supper together, just the two of us, at Amy’s. It is probably the most dignified place she is going to be tonight. She turns the legal drinking age and she wants to party. I am playing babysitter for her big evening out. And praying she will be safe.
Eric is in Regina and Leo happens to be there for meetings as well. Eric signs the register Monday. Officially he will then be a lawyer. I guess every family needs one. It is good to see him at this milestone finally. I hear there is some potential that he will be able to make a living at this job. One kid all the way out of the nest? I sure hope so. My nest is pretty crowded.
I wonder how long I’ll be able to keep it up. Today I took an hour or so to go to a quiet place and just be. Last week end I did the same but inside. This evening I went out for a short walk down by the river. Being quiet like this refreshes me mentally and spiritually. As it gets colder I will try and continue to take this kind of time – likely up at our church’s prayer room. It seems to give me a sort of stability I need.
I lay back and watched the grey clouds scudding across the sky above me and was surprised at how quickly they changed to a collection of cloud lower on the horizon with the grey blue sky of the evening sky dominating the scene.
I wonder what it is that makes us relate to God in these kinds of ways. I am closest to his presence in the outdoors and in the quiet of being alone.
A second good thing was started today as well – meeting with another woman for spiritual direction. It is required for the course I am taking but although today was only the begining I think this will be good.
This morning I was sitting in my favourite spot drinking coffee and having some quiet time with God. One of our assignments this week is to imagine what a sanctuary for us would look like. Last night I was doing that and most of what I would have in my sanctuary is from the outdoors – grass, trees, a mountain stream, etc. I also would have a comfy big chair and a good light for reading. Now I think I should add a really good cup of Bison quality coffee. I enjoy coffee, the flavour, the warmth and probably the caffeine.
I generally pray the morning office from The Divine Hours by Phyllis Tickle, and did so this morning. Lately, I have been breaking just before the Lord’s Prayer and reading a Psalm and a passage from the gospels. I know she has portions of psalms and Gospel readings already in there but it seems like not enough. I was contemplating the words of the Lord’s Prayer “Forgive me my sins as I forgive those who sin against me” and then picked up the book I am reviewing next for the course, Women at the Well by Kathleen Fischer.
Her words in the introduction speak of the “pervasive…results of sexism” in women’s lives. Instantly, into my mind leapt the memory of an incident I had. A colleague who did not agree with the way I wished to practice put me down using the term “sweetie” as he addressed me. That doesn’t sound much like an insult does it but I was not a sweetie to him. In fact I was his senior and had more experience in my field than he did. I have never really forgiven him.
It is the fact that I have never really forgiven him that God seemed to be confronting me with. Why, I don’t know. I mean, why would God care? The guy insulted me and was trying to put me down as “only a woman” who was out of touch with the realities of the profession, that the “boys” were really the ones who made the rules.
Sometimes God digs in there where it still hurts. He squeezes as he moulds me to his own image. He makes me stop and pay attention to what he really said.
Words can have a lasting effect. Wonder what words I have said that hurt in much the same way?
Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.