This painting by Jack Baumgartner portrays Jacob Wrestling the Angel from the book of Genesis. It’s a central metaphor for this blog – wrestling with life, health, urban issues, and even with God.
Ups and downs, pluses and minuses, good things and not so easy things; that’s life in a nutshell. 2019 was full of great meals, awesome movies, Wonderful new music, really nice books, and good times with my family. It was also full of hard stuff; sickness, hospital visits, ambulance rides, deaths in the street community, exhaustion at work for Erinn, and the uncertainty of life around every corner.
I guess I’m feeling Christmas in the air much earlier this year. I don’t know if it’s because we’ve already had our first snowstorm, or the Christmas displays are up early this year, or we’ve got our Oxford family batch of Christmas wine made, or the Santa Claus parade was yesterday and as a family we hunkered down and watched our first Christmas movie together while eating the festive special, or we have our Christmas lights up outside (not on yet). Whatever it is, I’m feeling kind of Christmasy.
Today I was reflecting on the visit I just had from my mom and two sisters. I will turn 50 at the end of November but, because snow could be flying by then, they flew here from Newfoundland to celebrate my birthday a little early.
As I have been trying to eat less pretty faithfully now for about five weeks, I figured it was time to get some sort of baseline as to where I stand so to speak. So I concocted a plan with my personal trainer at the gym I go to.
Perhaps my favourite part of the camp is the lake. I so love swimming in lake water. There’s truly nothing else like it in my opinion. I would go each and every afternoon from the moment the swimming area opened until almost the time we were kicked out by the lifeguards. During the past few years while my body was giving out, some of my friends and the camp staff would haul me down to the water and literally throw me in, and I would simply float around and take in the serenity of it all. But now that I am in this wheelchair I seem to no longer have a way to get in and out of the water.
This whole ordeal has led me to think about stuff. (What else is new?) We’ve been singing a song at church. “You’re a good, good father, that’s who you are, And I am loved by you, That’s who I am.“
Yesterday, after being told for more than five years that I needed to have my top left wisdom tooth out before it decays too much, I finally decided to get it done. But it went very wrong.
I’ve been sick this week. Some sort of summer cold. Thankfully it hasn’t been so bad that I’ve ended up in the hospital (knock on wood), but it hasn’t been pleasant. I even ended up staying in bed for two days this week in hopes that the rest would help get rid of this thing
But something has been niggling at me throughout this whole journey towards the championship. There are so many sentiments about how this game has broken down barriers between people of different races and ideologies. And yes there have been glimpses of that along the way. Yet that is so far from the truth.
I’ve been hosting a communal-contemplative group. The whole premise is to be silent together for 20 minutes, try to focus on what God might be saying to us as a group or individual, take 10 more minutes of silence to journal thoughts, and then if you feel up to it, share with the group something you’ve heard from God.
When I was looking at the house this morning I realized I was observing a metaphor for the past year. We had to rip up the front yard in order to put the window in to our basement. The perennial garden that had taken 15 or so years to mature is all gone. The front deck had to be ripped down also in order to get the front excavated so as to put in the window. Right now the front of the house looks a bit like a tornado hit it.
Two Wednesdays ago We had invited the families in our church group over for supper. It was a wonderful time together and we were able to show them our newly renovated home. I went to bed feeling great, but then woke up feeling as miserable as I have in a very long time. We even had to call an ambulance. They took me to Saint Michael’s hospital where sadly I had to be for nine days until things got resolved. It turns out I had a bladder infection and a touch of pneumonia which both required strong IV antibiotics. Good times…
As far as Lent goes, I struggled this year to know what to leave behind in terms of my personal life in preparation for the resurrection and new life of Easter. In meditating about this, I concluded that maybe I might swear a little too much in my private life.
Last Wednesday, after one year, one month and 12 days of being away, I finally moved home!!! It turns out it was the first day of spring. Even though I expected to be home by Christmas, I felt as though maybe moving back on the first spring day was somehow providential.
As I’m waiting in the hallway for that half hour to freeze my bladder, I see that there is a window overlooking the city. So I wheel to the window and wait out my half hour while looking out side. The CN Tower is there. (After close to 30 years here that tower still takes my breath away). The sun is rising. The sky is blue. I am overlooking the city that I love so much