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.
My little girl, the one I walked to her first day of kindergarten with just yesterday (it seems), will jump on the subway tomorrow morning and head off to her new school.
I didn’t think she even knew who I was. After all, she’s lived all over the world and has seen and done everything. Everyone who is anyone in The Salvation Army world knows her name. I was a friend of her husband Commissioner Stanley Walter. We worked together when I was director of Friendship Room and then Gateway. He was our accountant in his retirement. He came to work every week in his SA uniform, smiled at everyone, did his 4 hour per week job more efficiently than any form of accounting I've ever experienced, updated me on our financial situation, gave me a word of encouragement and/or constructive critique, and left. I loved him and was deeply saddened when he told me he was sick and wouldn’t be back. In 2004 I quietly sat in the backseat at his funeral to pay my respects, didn’t talk to a soul, and left. I didn’t even bring greetings to his grieving wife, not wanting to interrupt her grief and thinking she had no idea who I was anyways.
In my weakness, I am being molded into much less the ‘fixer’ I always have tried to be, and more of a listener. "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." (2 Corinthians 12:9)
There was this one time when I played in a band with a guy who was severely mentally ill. When he sat down to play the drums, his eyes went clear and he became a drumming machine.
The legendary Henri Nouwen once wrote that there are 3 things necessary for closeness to God; 1. Contemplative reading of scripture. 2. Prayer. 3. A spiritual guide
I’m kind of all riled up today. I just heard that my good friend Alain in Montreal who for many years has been running a drop-in for folks on the streets out of a downtown church, is looking for a new location in order to run his program.
May is dignity month in The Salvation Army world. Once again, we at Toronto Housing and Homeless Supports (THHS) will be doing our part by making our missional focus for the month ‘dignity and respect’.
I went back to work on Monday after 2 rough health weeks. I didn’t feel strong. I was anxious that I’d not get through the day. I was afraid to discover what my ‘new normal’ might be after this bout of illness.
Well it’s been quite a couple of weeks. Most of you know I spent the bulk of last week in the hospital due to a virus that literally knocked me off my feet. That was a brutal few days.