Friday, September 19, 2014

That Being Said...... I leave for over a week of travelling and WILL see at least a few of our old friends.



Caution: light blogging ahead.....

A Miserable Dream

I had an opportunity to attend a seminar on dream interpretation this weekend but had to turn it down due to other committments.  However, the bad dream that woke me up early this morning, well, I think I can interpret it at least somewhat accurately all on my own.

In my dream my husband had to be away for a combined church service between one of our congregations and a visiting group from our deanery....I don't know who any of those people were as they certainly were not people I have ever met in real life.

For some reason we had to meet in a a combined kitchen/dining room.  My husband had appointed me to be in charge of the service and had approved my sermon.  To start with everything was going well. The visitors had happily taken up their assigned parts in the service, our own congregation held up their end and things were going smoothly until a few minutes before I was to preach.

At that point my husband appeared for some unexplained reason.  He started making himself a cup of tea (of COURSE he was making tea, as those of you who know my husband will be chuckling about), and he also interrupted the flow of the service by telling us where he had been and how what he had learned there went hand in hand with what I was about to talk about in my sermon.  He went on and on to the point where he essentially used up all the time allotted for my sermon. I could feel some panic and resentment beginning to rise.

As he was talking some more people came into the room.  They were friends of the visiting congregation but were not there for church. They wanted to visit their friends and so as my husband was winding up his talk, they were chatting amongst themselves and interrupting the entire assembly.  As my husband completed his talk and I realized there would be no time for my sermon, I also realized that the whole group had gotten completely out of hand.  Chat, chat, chat, yak, yak, yak.....

I hollered to get everyone's attention back but one couple just kept talking.  I asked them if they could please stop until we were finished the last part of our service and they looked at me and said, "You mean WE have to be quiet too?? But we aren't here for church, we are here to visit." And they began talking again.  I tried to explain, I tried to finish the service but by then a free-for-all had erupted all around me and no one listened so I walked out of the room and out of the house, angry, resentful, crying.

I woke up choking and spluttering, heart racing and feeling angry and panicked.

It doesn't take a special seminar to interpret that dream.  What I felt in the dream and when I first woke up was complete impotence....impotence over my life, a complete lack of control over my life's circumstances and a lot of frustration in dealing with being as socially and culturally isolated as I have been for the past nearly 10 years.

I suspect what set this dream up is the cancellation of plans on Sunday that I have been looking forward to for several weeks, because something came up in the ministry, in yet anothr town, that requires our attendence.  It involves another 6 hour round trip of driving we hadn't expected when we made our own plans, more pot luck meals that neither of us can eat due to our health issues and so requiring even more time away from our own personal morning committment in order to find some food to take for ourselves, missing out on some very much needed social engagements with old friends and basically taking over our entire day, ruining every plan we had made and were so excited about....probably the last time we could have seen our old friends for a very long time...sigh.....

It is a most rare experience that I ever feel resentful or angry when a ministry event interferes with the rest of our life. When you are in full time ministry it IS your life.  I am not sure why this one change of plans is hitting me so hard and making me so disproportionately angry inside to the point where I am having nightmares.  It isn't the dream that needs interpreting in this case, it is the reason for it and then some soul searching to figure out how to deal more maturely and less emotionally over the cancellation of a few personal plans that should be somewhat disappointing, but not so anger inducing that I have such a dream and such an emotional response to it.

My concern is that a root of bitterness is forming within me.  I need to be praying and seeking God to get that root pulled out and replaced with the peace and joy I usually experience over anything ministry related.  

As I look back on some of the foods I have been trying to reintroduce to my diet over the past month, I am possibly seeing a correlation between intake and the beginning of this emotional upheaval...something to further investigate, that is for sure.  I hope these tiny feelings of disappointment burgeoning to the point of rage are a result of my diet and not from a formation of bitterness in my heart.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Acutely Aware

As I have slowly come out of the allergy and diabetes induced haze that has followed me daily for the past couple of years, I have become more acutely aware of my surroundings.

Over the past few days I have finally noticed, during my afternoon walks outdoors, the number of houses from which booming drums and thwanging guitar music of several genres is emanating rather loudly.  I realized yesteday that the drummer who lives kitty corner to our place does indeed practise for most of the afternoon and often well into the evening and that has been the racket that overpowers my television sound night after night. Fortunately for him, he is a really fine drummer! haha

I realize now just how many cats come to hunt birds at our place day after day.  Perhaps I should not assume this town has no cat bylaw and check that out.  Maybe if a few cats turned up at the pound rather than returning home each evening I would have less cat poop and urine to deal with in our side yard...something I need to consider since I don't know who owns any of these obviously well cared for pets.

I realize how many dogs there are in this town.  Walking downtown the past few days I have at last become conscious of how many dogs of all sizes are barking from yards, peering out of windows, playing with chew toys on the front decks and also how many have escaped the confines of home and are running around the streets terrifying pedestrians like myself. There are some very lovely animals here. Yesterday a very small dog with rather sharp teeth and a nasty bark raced out from behind its owner's car in their driveway and attached itself rather viciously to my pant leg.  Fortunately it did very little damage to the pants and none to my leg while the owner detached it from my person.  Interestingly, there was not a word spoken to me, no apology, not even a grunt as she hoisted the dog up over her shoulder and took him into the house. Mind you, I didn't say anything either. What do you say in such a situation that doesn't sound rude or angry?  Something humorous seemed rather inappropriate at the time, so....

The yellowing leaves on the trees this autumn seem more yellow than ever, brighter and cheerier than I have noticed in the past.  The trees are just starting to turn colours and some of the reds are particularly beautiful this year.

I have noticed how well dressed so many of the townfolk are here. It is nice to be in a place where a certain sense of pride accompanies the majority of the residents.  

Although there are many old houses in our part of town, for the most part they are well looked after.  The ones that are neglected stand out because they are so few and far between.  New siding is going on to quite a few homes this fall. New owners of very old homes are sprucing them up beautifully.  

I am becoming more aware of the excellency of some of our medical and retail services. Our visiting family had to attend both the hospital emergency room and the clinic during their stay and were treated extremely well by all the staff and by the pharmacist. The remaining downtown businesses seem to be stepping up their level of customer service and that can only continue to improve our town and how people feel about it.

Awareness of my age and the age of various family members hit me like a baseball bat the other day for some reason.  I was struck again by my parents' health conditions, the age of my son and the struggles of other relatives with health issues.

There doesn't seem to be any particular reason, beyond the lifting of the mental haze, that I am feeling so aware of my surroundings and feeling so refective about all that I notice these days, but it is keeping my mind filled with good thoughts, with questions to research, with problems to solve.

I have a sense that life is starting to "heat up" once again and my husband's job is certainly a huge contributing factor to that.

I am enjoying feeling so alive again!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Son of Missy

Last evening I looked out at the suet pack and there was a new downy woodpecker gorging on it.  He is a beautiful male and appears to be Missy's offspring.  What a treat to have him along with her back in our area.  He is too tiny to be her mate so am assuming he is her son.  There is  no daddy downy anywhere around that we have seen, but Missy and her as yet unnamed baby boy are certainly welcome and appreciated.  

(I can't believe I am naming birds....or feeding birds....or interested in birds....or that my husband purchased yet another feeder yesterday specifically for the finches...or that he took sanding paper to the plastic landing spokes to roughen them so their "little feet will have a better grip."  What is happening to us???? hahahaha  Is this some particular brand of age induced senility??)

Relaxing Post Visit

It is a beautiful day today. The sun is shining low in the sky as befits autumn, the sky is autumn blue and cloudless and the temperatures are climbing again for a few days with a high of +23C  predicted today, possibly up to +27C by the end of the week.  If it can continue into the following week we are going to have a very pleasant trip around the Diocese for all the important meetings that happen each September.

Our company left early this morning to begin wending their way toward Manitoba, visiting old friends and meandering through provincial and national parks to see the fall colours and the wild animals preparing for the winter.  They are carrying a small book that describes many beautiful and sometimes not so well known prairie places that are particularly appealing this time of year.  Hopefully they will have the chance to visit a fair number of them over the next ten days.

As per usual for me, after having company even for such a short time, I am dead on my feet today.  We had a lot of fun going out for dinner last night and I was rather hyper by the time bed time rolled around.  I  could not get to sleep. I read my book, I watched inane televsion programmes and finally fell asleep just before 2am, but was awake again at 6:30am to take the garbage bin to the curb and get a few things set up for our travellers.  I feel an afternoon nap coming on.

I think the specific thing we all noticed about each other during this visit is how much we have all aged over the past year.  It wasn't depressing as much as it was a curiosity.  Our family has had some rather intense stress over the past 3 months; not bad stresses, just some unexpected stresses that have taken a lot of energy to deal with.  Hopefully as the stresses begin to ease we will all regain a bit more "bounce"!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Happy Tired After the Weekend

It was a good weekend.  My husband's sister and her husband arrived on Saturday and we had a lovely  evening together.  On Sunday she made the circuit with us from church to church as my husband took his part in a priestly rotation to another parish that is currently without a priest.  Today she and her husband are getting their RV cleaned out and ready for the second phase of their holiday, leaving us tomorrow.

Having the company was so easy with them staying in their RV. Like us, they have several food sensitivies and prefer to make their own breakfasts, so we share lunches and suppers together and it works out very well.  Tonight I think we are just going to go out for pizza or do a "community" cook and have fun here at home making all sorts of "mismatched" dishes that we each enjoy.

The weather here is improving for the moment.  Yesterday's travelling was in mostly dry conditions with the sun shining brilliantly, if not particularly warmly.  It was the perfect day for a long drive around the province.  We saw dozens of prong horned goats, a couple of large male deer with huge racks of antlers and a pair of herons flying along the South Saskatchewan River where we did our ferry crossings.

The thing that stands out to me each time we have such a day is the difference between each community and each church family.  On a day like we had yesterday we met every kind of person there is to meet I suspect.  It was a most interesting experience in good and not so good ways. It certainly reinforced for me my ignorance of some of the rural cultures we have to deal with at times and I need to learn far more than I have to date.  I need to learn to be less easily wounded by people who have a different set of social skills and expectations than my own.

One of our own churches served up delicious coffee and a snack treat after service.  Since it was Holy Cross Day we were treated to delicious cookies shaped like crosses with icing droozled on to resemble the snake Moses hoisted up on a post when the Hebrew people were seeking God for his solution to an innundation of poisonous snakes in their camp as they travelled across the desert after escaping from their slavery in Egypt.  

My husband has a fabulous sermon from that reading in the Book of Numbers that he calls, "The Theology of Snake on a Stick."  He points out how people have the option to look up to Jesus on the cross for healing of their spiritual illnesses in much the same way the Hebrews had God's instruction to look to the snake on Moses' post in order to be healed of their physical snake bites.  What I hadn't realized very well until my husband pointed it out to me, is that Jesus on the cross doesn't identify himself as the conquering hero of liberation. He identifies with the snake!!  Like the snake for the Hebrews, he was seen by the Romans as the cause of many problems, but instead, voluntarily looking to him in trust and faith, also like voluntarily looking at Moses' snake, he becomes the source of healing instead to those who choose to accept it.

I enjoyed the little bunny trails in the sermon as well:  talking briefly about how the snake on the stick image associated with healing is a concept predates Christianity.  There have been a few controversies over the centuries about the old healing gods and their symbols, such as the Rod of Asclepius with its symbol of the single snake, compared to the Caduceus of Hermes with its two intertwined snakes and its winged staff.  My own medic alert bracelet features Aesclepius' rod and my friend's sports a large medallion featuring Hermes' caduceus.  Always fun to learn the origins of symbols we take for granted today...and likely haven't bothered to research?  My bad......

Today will be very low key in honour of my husband's day off work, although of course there are "just a couple of emails  I need to respond to this afternoon.....", haha.  As usual.....

Tomorrow I will do laundry and start preparing for another nine days on the road.  My husband has meeting after meeting around the Diocese and I am going to visit good friends in our former city of residence.  I can hardly believe it has been about a year since I was last there!!!!  I remember one quick overnight visit there in the last year when I had time to have breakfast with a friend the next morning. That was the end of January I believe.  Wow, it has been awhile and I miss my friends there so badly.  Now that they are all back from holidays it will be easy to complete my visiting schedule.

Looking back at a good weekend and ahead to an excellent week to come. 

Friday, September 12, 2014

A Yard Filled with Flutterers

Missy was back this morning having a feeding frenzy of peanuts and cashews.  Right on her heels....hey, wait a minute....birds don't have they?

ANYWAY, a few minutes later a couple of nut hatches arrived.  The downy woodpeckers and nut hatches seem to travel together around here.  These nut hatches are the larger variety, with  brownish feathers and whiter chests compared to the smaller steel blues with copper coloured breasts. They are characterized by a high energy level and perky demeanor.  They love to swing on the nut feeders and peer into the kitchen.  When we go outside, only a few feet from them, they rarely fly away. Instead they peer at us curiously and then go about their business.

It is going to be fun to watch the interaction between them and the larger thrashers and blue jays.