Monday, April 23, 2012


I attended a confirmation service at Christ Church Cathedral officiated by Bishop Ingram this afternoon. I think it is my first confirmation service since my own in May 1970.

It is a beautiful service. The hymns were wonderful, the choir stellar, and afterwards my student (the confirmation candidate) and her mother invited me out for dinner.

It was hectic to get there on time. I had been away in Victoria at a memorial and spent much of the weekend in tears, especially today as I had to say goodbye to my aunt and cousins, sister, husband and son. They were all staying on the island for another day or so, while I came home to attend the service.

Noon ferry, at my car by 2pm, home by 3pm, change and off to downtown at 3:15. Then finding parking downtown - always a trial - but none-the-less I was sitting in my seat by 3:45. Whew. Sometimes I know that God helps me get where I am going. Today was no exception.

Taking Communion at an Anglican service seemed a fitting end for today. My uncle was an Anglican. I wore the earrings he gave me. Even though they were blue, and I was wearing red. He would understand. I am not one for colour co-ordinating my outfits, but I am good at meaningful accessorizing!

My Uncle, I think, seemed to always speak his mind. The motto attached to the bouquet of red carnations from his regiment, Lord Strathcona's Horse, said PERSEVERANCE.

I think that will be my word for the next few weeks. I think, too, I will speak my mind more - there is no reason to keep quiet while others around me voice their opinions - I need to trust in the validity of my opinion. I need to re-confirm. To myself, to God, to my life.

Bishop Ingram said today "faith is a verb, not a noun". So I am going to move forward, persevering with that thought. If I continue to live with integrity, moving forward faithfully, with perseverance - how can it not help?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

As You Like It - As I see it...

I don't think it is a figment of my imagination. I think I can safely say that this past year of teaching has been amazing - and no more so than the last week. We have returned from our Easter break and thrown ourselves into rehearsals to perform As You Like It at the end of April.

I have permission to use some original music, two of my students choreographed the wedding dance at the end, I have had support from a wonderful actor/director from Bard on the Beach, and the students, for the most part, are working hard and putting up with my demands for 'quiet back stage!'.

Still, and all, I am cranky today. Tired I think. It has been a busy nine days.

It is my Uncle's memorial this weekend. As they often are, this one is called a 'Celebration of Life'. Yes, his was a life to be celebrated. His relationships with friends, nieces, nephews, daughters, sisters, brother, wife are all to be celebrated. Celebrated in those private memories that some of us will try to give voice to on Saturday.

Relationships are so personal. The spark, the life that exists between two people is unique. No one else has quite the relationship you do to another. That thought can be comforting. It is also a lonely thought. For when that person is gone, there is no-one to truly understand it, no-one to replace it. No-one should replace it.

So aging is, in part, a series of losses. Voices you will never hear again. Laughter you will never hear again. Comfort you will never feel again. Dances you will never dance again.

My uncle and I danced once, in Sicily, eight years ago. Cheek to cheek, slow dancing. I never had that dance with my father. In that moment I felt he was the closest thing I would ever have to a father as an adult. It was wonderful, and it was poignant.

This weekend, amidst the stories, the laughter, the tears, the hustle and bustle, the re-unions, this weekend I will be remembering Italy. A 48 year old woman and her 84 year old uncle. They had the trip of a lifetime, and now, one holder of those memories is gone, and one is left behind.

Sometimes being the one left behind can be so hard.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Crashing waves

Home from ten days away. Away to the wild, wet, pacific west coast. Sleeping in till 10 every day. Walks on the beach. A few campfires. Listening to the radio Eating good food. Cozy in our camper.

This is, perhaps, my last spring break for some time. Retirement is only 2 months away. Wow. I think I will start calling it a sabbatical. Retirement, at my age, doesn't sound right. It doesn't ring 'true', as my mother would say.

It was peaceful. The weather report was for rain, rain, and more rain. We had one day of pouring rain, but it was good because I did all my marking. Silver lining and all that stuff.

Mostly the days were a mix of cloud and sun, and the last two days full on sun.

And every day was accompanied by the sound of the Pacific Ocean. Not so peaceful, the name that is. The sound, to me, is very soothing.

Perhaps it is the repetition. Repeating, but not the same. Surging, receding, ebbing, flowing. Each wave different from the last, each one bringing a promise, perhaps a surprise.

We saw a murder of crows digging in the sand. Each one of them digging in the sand. A mystery. An intelligence. A reminder that I don't know about alot of things. I only know that those waves, those beaches, that sand brings me peace.

I was occasionally struck by melancholy on this trip. Suddenly, like a rogue wave, it would wash over me. I would turn to my husband in despair. The tears would flow. It is a simple answer to say it was low blood sugar - although eating would help. I think it is more omnipresent than that

On that wild Pacific coast I feel small and insignificant. I feel far away from family and friends. I feel - well - lost. And yet in the losing of myself I find something infinitely greater.

My faith is always with me these days. As I pray for the health of my loved ones, for the safety of my loved ones, for the peace of the world.

I can't keep them all safe under my wings, but I can keep them safe in my heart.

My husband asked if the pounding waves would become persistent, annoying, day in and day out if we chose to live by such an ocean.

I don't think so. The sound reminds me minute by minute, tide by tide, of God. God is in the details.

I heard a question asked of a rabbi, the father of nine children, when he was left paralysed after a car accident.

"I don't ask why did God let this happen to me. I ask what does he want me to do now?"

So, I think, for me, those waves were asking: What do you want to do now? The melancholy is simply an opening to the infinite possibilities - as large as the ocean, as perfect as each wave, as cleansing as my baptism.

It is no coincidence that this is Easter Sunday. The Resurrection and the Life. Looking forward to Pentecost.