Day 13: Saturday September 23
What giddy delight I must confess, yet again, for a Saturday like others have…. a weekend day, happily spent on a patio in Ste Anne de Bellevue with our daughter, son-in-law, and grandson, then chilling at home, making muffins, yet more pesto(!!), and memories. It seems, however, that I cannot not work on Saturday evening! Not having to prepare worship, I spent a happy couple of hours at the computer writing about….. the worship we experience at Cedar Park!! Tomorrow, as promised, I will pray for you all, as I worship elsewhere .
Day 12: Friday September 22
This doesn’t feel like Fall, does it? Such beautiful days, far too warm to think of ‘putting my garden to bed’ for winter, but it needs to be done before I head to the UK and to France next week, so yet another batch of pesto to be made with the abundance of herbs, but what shall I do with all this celery? Today is also the day to toast the completion of those last two non-thesis assignments. The last one was uploaded just before midnight, two full months ahead of schedule!
A belated recognition of Rosh Hashanah, and blessings to all who celebrate the new year.
Day 11: Thursday September 21
Rhythm and blues. It’s my experience that if you lose the first, the second is the result. The biggest challenge for me so far has been to create a new rhythm now that the very hectic pace of my normal pastoral week is set aside for this sabbatical season. It has been…. years…decades even, since I have had such a generous gift of unscheduled time, and I seem to be a bit upended, even daunted, by it, hence the blues. That’s the seed thought as I end the day. … there will be more to emerge from this….
Days 9 & 10: Tues/Wed 19,20
Some day slip by, don’t they? Errands, by definition, are supposed to be short and quick, but add enough of them to a day….well, you, dear reader, know how that ends! The bliss of sabbatical however is that such short tasks can be done in daylight, and other people’s working hours. For that I am grateful, and wonder how productive our regular working lives might be if we each could schedule a regular errand day say every month, so that they don’t pile up and hound us, as these myriad errands had done for me over these past busy weeks.
I am also discovering that one of my more productive writing times occurs late into the evening. I got lots done on the last two non-thesis assignments, and if all goes well, I will toast their completion by Friday, ahead of schedule!
Day 8: Monday September 18
We use the word “grace” a lot in the church, but often we’re not sure how to define it. Simply put, as a starting point, I think “grace” is the receiving (and the giving) of a surprising, unwarranted, unexpected gift or blessing. It could be opening morning -bleary eyes to the blue surprise of a sunny day, or discovering that a neighbour has put your recycling bin back. It could be the eye-connecting smile you give to the checkout clerk who’s just dealt with an ornery customer. This is how grace happened for me today: having made the trek to Westmount for a Dr’s appointment, I discovered I had left home without my wallet. Grace showed up in a stranger who took care of my parking fee. Grace showed up again when another stranger, overhearing this gracious encounter, bought the parking donor a coffee! Grace embraced three strangers sharing a few unexpected, surprising moments of generous conversation and action. I know we all three left that encounter with full hearts, wide smiles, and a renewed hope for the arc of goodness with which God blesses the world.
Day 7: Sunday September 17
34 years ago today, I became a mother for the first time. While that seems impossible to me, feeling not much older than that most of the time, there is something deeply satisfying about the conversation one has with a child who has himself become a father. Our children see us differently when they become parents themselves, and that brings with it the opportunity to grow a new dimension to that relationship, one that involves wisdom, and graceful aging – I don’t want to be kept up at nights by a child anymore, but I want to give my parenting child the best of my attention when they are night-weary, and wonder if they have the stamina. (They do. We did.)
I have another story for today, dear CPU folk. I had every intention of going to church today… to a different faith community, to be fed spiritually, but also to be a student of other worship practices. I dressed, got in my car, turned on the ignition, and burst into tears! I threw a tantrum a two year old would be proud of, telling my steering wheel (a necessary stand in for God), that if I couldn’t worship with you, “my people” I couldn’t worship at all! I didn’t. I went for a looong walk instead, and heard God chuckling a little in the chatter of squirrels, and saw God’s eye’s glinting mischievously as the sun danced on the water. I’ll be more grown up next week, I’ll go find a place to worship God in community, and I’ll say a wholehearted prayer for all who are searching for a place where they can be spiritually fed, and where they can belong.
Day 6: Saturday September 16
Much of the hidden life of a minister is spent in prayer, thought, and worship preparation. Saturdays, for me, are generally filled to the brim with such hidden work, as I prepare/complete the sermon, and the pastoral prayers for Sunday worship, and then work with the powerpoint presentations to add the visual enhancements to our worship experience. (I’ll post on that new form of spiritual practice in another post sometime). So, imagine what today was like:a huge gift of 8-10 hours of ‘free time’! Norman and I went to the Ste-Anne de Bellevue Eco-day and farmer’s market (did you know there’s an émouleur there every week who can grind your knives?). And I baked bread, and harvested fresh basil (pesto, anyone?!). Now, although the spiritual satisfaction of working yeast into flour (thinking of recent Matthean parables), and watching the miracle of rising and baking was wonderful, I’m not sure I should repeat this too often because the physical satisfaction of eating that bread is not good for the waistline! Which got me to thinking: how many of us/you no longer bake because families have flown the coop, or diets prohibit, but miss the creativity and satisfaction? How many of us might want to bake for someone who’s never tasted chocolate zucchini muffins? My next baking project will not be for me, and I’m having a wonderful time thinking of who might be the recipient!