Wednesday, April 27, 2011


One of the things in life that I've never quite forgiven myself for is the prickly point of never having finished my degree and thereby having never made anything of myself.

I felt like a failure before entering University, and then exiting before having any letters behind my name, and not being able to turn that investment into a bonified job only magnified my sense of inadequacy.

But now I'm in my forties, which is when people say that life truly begins. So, it follows a certain amount of logic that I've finally found my destiny in this life, and that I recognize my irreplacability and proficiency in this very special calling.

Turns out that I'm in Distribution- that very important component of Logistics & Supply chain management (wikipedia). I'm in a very specialized branch which an extensive knowledge base is critical.

Not unlike the woman in Proverbs 21, I arise early in the morning to begin my tasks. Usually the first order of the day involves redistributing the dishes from coffee table, kitchen table, computer room and counter top to sudsy sink, and further distribution to drying rack and cupboards. Then items are re-routed from cupboards to countertop to lunch bag back to cupboard. Meanwhile, the baseline of the whole business begins filling up with crumbs, cheerios, and unidentifiable blobs which require movement from floor to broom to mop.

This is also the time to redistribute all fiber types into the washing machine and dryer. Down the stairs, into the first and second machines, back up the stairs, and into appropriate drawers and closets. Meanwhile check for quality, size, and possible items for re-stocking. Gather up stray socks, sheets, towels, and t-shirts from the floor of whichever area is being re-stocked. Take them down the stairs, through the first and second machines....

By now it's time to redistribute all the cups and plates you've ever owned, and probably most of the ones your ancestors have handed down to you.

Breakfast is over, and it's nearly time for lunch. Another perfect example of the high demand in the industry of distribution. Cupboards and refridgerater are emptied, dishes moved from cupboard to counter to table, then sink and back again. This cycle actually repeats hundreds of times per day without ever seeing resolution or completion.

The entire corporation is run along this model of distribution. On certain days of the cycle, a phenomenon known as "fund redistribution" also occurs with a swiftness that can leave the underexperienced novice blindsided and dizzy. Funds enter the facility, and rapidly are consumed by smaller arteries and vessels known as children, sporting programs, hydro and gas, television and internet, and many, many varieties of loose teas purchased at out of the way locations.

I shall not bore you with every nuance of my chosen field. My life's work.

Suffice to say that it's wonderful to be so terribly important and specialized, even if it has taken me the better part of over half my life to recognize it as such.

No number of fancy letterheads and symbols trailing my name could ever compare with such a revelation.

I'd love to share more about my passion and vocation, but I sense a certain urgency to to sort dinky toys and velcro foodstuffs.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Church Without God and Other Religions

I dream every night that I have to move. I've no car, no moving truck, no boxes. But I have an awful lot of stuff. Some of it is broken, dirty, laying in mud puddles, or piled up in musty sheds. I don't know what to do with it all.

In my dreams I move into and out of different houses. Large, multi-storied, rambling places filled with tapestries, old wood, bright colours, forgotten rooms. Holes in the roof. Water damage.

Small, old houses. Rotting floorboards, ceilings that open up to broken roofs. Rain. Large, expansive sections of floor, entirely missing. Cluttered stairways that lead to nowhere. Tiny openings to other rooms; impossible to access. Roommates I've never met before. Old neighbours within my eyesight, but just outside my reach. Chasms in the way.


And in my waking hours, I drive past the church of my childhood. A strange little building, oddly situated at the edge of a wheat field, without a grain elevator, gas station, or anything. And I miss the days when we "knew the way it was". Church was church, just the same as the school you went to for the first ten years of your academic career was the one your yellow school bus drove you to. You don't make a decision about your school or your church. You just go. Monday through Friday you go east to school; pause for baths on Saturday, and then head west on Sunday morning for church.

The people and the messages were consistent in each case. True was true, even if it wasn't - because everyone pretty much agreed on it. When our Sunday School teachers asked us questions, they were easy to answer. We'd rehearsed all the answers since we were born and born again.

It was reassuring and lovely to grow up like that and I miss it sometimes. But it's not so simple that I could just go back and "know everything again".

I've been in so many churches in the last twenty-five years. And I've noticed some things. I love community, and the concept of people loving and caring for one another. I love the teaching that God is love and challenges us to love our enemies, stand up for the repressed, look out for the little guy, share. I love hearing people pray, read the ancient scriptures, join one another in song.

But over the years I've also seen some other stuff. I've noticed ego everywhere, and I know that's not unique to the church. That's just human nature. I've noticed people say some outrageous and divisive things in the name of Jesus. I've noticed guilt laid on thicker than a March snowstorm. I've seen priveleged middle-class caucasians blaspheme people of other ethnicities and lifestyles with a shocking lack of grce. I've noticed peer pressure, language barriers, (the language of church-ism), power trips, bullying, idealisms, and lack of relevance. I've noticed that it's entirely possible to run church without God. I've noticed that you can stack up ideologies and judgements, ins and outs and not even mention His name.

It's not that I really hold this against the institution of church, per se. It's just that it has been sad for me to notice. Sad for me to feel like I don't have a solid footing to place beneath me and the children.

It's not religion that I want, exactly. I don't need a revival meeting or an episode of laughter that renders me unconscious.

Jesus was an inspirational guy. He was anti-establishment, hung out with all the "wrong" people, and broke the ten commandments. He was a lover of peace, a seeker of justice, a feeder of the hungry.

I just want to be inspired to live like that, and I want my children to have a faith that frees them to live out their lives abundantly, selflessly, graciously, joyfully, and in the name of Jesus.

I don't need religion. In or out of church.

So, by night I'll dream, and by day I'll wonder.

And somehow, by hook or by crook, faith in things not yet seen will just have to prevail.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

What's A Birthday Without a Little Bitta Body Modification?

Just gather up a few of your favourite fifteen year old friends and change things up a little. A flower here, some black polish over there.

Wrap it all up with punching a couple of holes where you didn't have holes before.

Pick a place where you can hear the sizzle of a large graphic tattoo being burnt into someone's butt just a doorway or two down the way.

Spare your daughters' friends from any piercings or permanent never-go-away-until-you-die-and-maybe-even-later drawings on their legs, arms, ears, or any other body parts.

Even if they beg.

Just so "no".

(mostly because you know their mothers WILL kill you)

Say "yes" to that upper ear piercing, and only realize some time later that your kid probably thinks that she can happily punch away at her body with sheer, sharp-objected abandon.

Be sure to set the record straight on that one before the sun finishes setting.

Begin to worry about her going out into the rain and various holes in her head causing leakage into her grey matter.

Then become preoccupied with how to alter your son's body now that he's thirteen.

Remember that he's not so interested in ink injections or chunks of metal getting pounded into his ears. He prefers treating his body in kinder and gentler ways.

Soft, creamy, smooth ways.

Like three flavours of ice cream that are his very own. No need to share with pesky siblings. No need to dirty any bowls. Only three questions for snacks, after lunch desserts, or a bad case of the munchies:


Coffee Crisp?

Or double chocolate?

Friday, April 08, 2011

Happy Fifteenth Birthday, Jane

You've changed quite a bit within the years that I've known you.

My sweet cherub. I can still feel the way you felt in my arms. All curly and sweet- sensitive and pretty from the very start. I was so thrilled to have you, my girl.

We loved mucking around outside! Every afternoon after your daddy left for work we would walk to the park in the green wagon. We would look at the trees, swing on the swings, talk to the birds, and climb on the big rocks.

You've always been creative and artistic. Lucky you were born in a family that took puddle splash walks every spring, believed in licking the beaters, and thought that learning how to waterpaint by one and a half was a reasonable thing to do.

My curly, twirly girlie.

You're not three any more. You're just as precious, charming, fascinating, and special to me as you were in that little kitty cat dress.

You'll always have a safe place to call home, and I'll always do my best to understand you.
You'll keep changing, and that's the way it's meant to be.

I love you.

Happy Birthday.

Monday, April 04, 2011


Hey, Micah. You're thirteen today. Yesterday I told you that I'd better take a long, hard look at you because you'd never be the same again; and I was right. You're thirteen now, but not that long ago you were my wee baby.
So precious and beautiful you are.
We were all so happy that you had arrived- that we could study you, hold you, get to know you.
You started to balance out the female dominance of the place.
Your sisters were so proud. (Arianna, circa 1998, age almost 4)
(sweet Jane, just days from being two whole years old...)

You fit right in because we made room for you.
Besides, you were a wonder to us all.
Yes, your sister looks like a freak. You shouldn't let it scare you so.
Because there was so much love to go around. There still is, little brother.
When your baby brother came around, you were SO PROUD!! You told everyone with an ear; "I'nna Big Brudder Now!" And it's an important role that you've always been so good at. I love to see you and your brother together.
You are part of a pretty special family.

Like your Uncle Ken used to be known to say; "There's a lot of love in this dysfunctional family".

Look at you there- your silly humour has always made me laugh. You've always had the most interesting and wonderful way of looking at life.

Nothing would be anything without you.

I love you kid.

I'm ready to start on a whole new journey with you- the last big leg of you becoming a man.

I know you'll keep being awesome because I know how beautiful your heart is.

Just a few things I'd like for you to remember:

Never move away from home. You can count on living in your mother's basement well past forty.

Never grow up. (be dysfunctionally dependent so that I'll always have you around)

Never stop believing in ice cream.

Never wear anything but royal blue t-shirts.

Always love unicorns and ponies.

Happy Birthday, boy.

You, I love.