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.
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
So I go in the room, the door closes and latches behind me, I throw out my trash, and then push the button to get out. Herein lies the dilemma. The button did not work.
So I wrenched my neck. I wasn’t doing anything out of the ordinary. It was Valentine’s Day and Erinn and I were having dinner together. We were reminiscing about how we got engaged on this day more than 20 years ago now. I had cooked what I thought was the most amazing meal ever; barbecued chicken legs. Who wouldn’t want to marry me with this kind of offering, I thought:)
On our 20th anniversary, one year ago now, I was so sick I could barely function. And I felt incredibly guilty to not be able to properly celebrate 20 years married to the incomparable Miss Erinn. When we woke up beside each other the very next day, January 25th 2018, I finally had to admit I cannot go on any longer without help. So I leaned over to Erinn and said it’s time to call an ambulance. That was the very last time I slept in my own bed and woke up next to her.
So, I’ve been made aware that my last blog can be read ad a bit deceiving when it pertains to me moving home. The move is still close, but not as imminent as I fear I have unintentionally suggested. I fear I've been a tad impatient and a little hasty. The finish line is definitely in sight but the very last few steps are kind of excruciating.
"Happy new year!" I hear it over and over again. And yes, I say it over and over again as well. That’s just what you say to each other I guess. But really, if happiness is the measure of whether or not the year is good, I would say that last year was a bust.
I was taking the bus downtown. I left the neighbourhood I’m currently staying at, which I do like (though it’s kind of hipster-ville which admittedly creeps me out at times:), scooted aboard a bus and headed towards one of our SallyAnn shelters. As the bus passed the very touristy Yonge Street and headed into the downtown Eastside of Toronto, we headed into ‘the hood’.
Hospital Beds and Beeping Machines (a guest piece from my daughter as to how she views life with MS)
By Cate Oxford I woke to the sound of a knock on my bedroom door. I had been in that strange realm between asleep and awake, when the world is a foggy kind of grey. I looked at the clock, it was early, too early. Too early for everything to be okay. I look to see my mom standing at the door. She opens her mouth. “Hey, sweetie. So, dad couldn’t get out of bed this morning. We had to call the hospital. I just wanted you to know before the paramedics show up.”