#FMF – Time

Attempting to start joining my Five Minute Friday friends again as we spend five minutes writing on a one word prompt and then see what the outcome is.

This weeks prompt is: TIME

Time these days seems to melt one day into another. If it weren’t for calendars and phones we would have gone blithely from day to day with no idea of where we landed in either the week or month.

The calendar is less full these days. We look forward to filling it’s squares with moments just so one day can differentiate itself from another.

We keep our calendars as mementos of the year that has been. Who knew this would be a necessity when our insurance company asked for info on any appointments with dr’s my dad had in the past two years? But it was.

We have birthdays, anniversaries, tragic events, bills to pay, gatherings to remember, trips that were taken. Small time capsules that aren’t buried at all but rarely consulted.

Time travels on wether we chose to accompany it or not. We are present in it but not always aware of its passing.

We often gage when we have meals or gather together with others based on times. We book appointments into peoples schedules and attend services on the weekend on a specific time slot now with Covid tracking and tracing.

Such is time these days

#FMF – Grief

Joining with my friends over at Five Minute Friday for a five minute writing on one subject.

It’s been two weeks tonight that my dad suddenly passed away.

He went to the hospital with a sore hip and what we thought was a bladder infection. They admitted him with general decline, letting us know that he should be on the mend within a couple days. 8 hours later we were told his body was shutting down and he was dying. We couldn’t be with him because Covid-19 had shut down their ward. We were only allowed on the ward after he passed away. My brother tried to come as fast as he could from the West Coast but the flights brought him early Friday morning – 6 hours after my dad passed away.

I cried when I saw him in the hospital, after he had died . I kissed him on the head and held his hand. The nurse told us he passed peacefully abs she had held his hand. What else are they supposed to say?

I have as of yet not really grieved the passing of my dad. My way of dealing is to pretend like nothing happened, he’s just in the hospital for a bit, we’ll see him again. All this after the memorial and burial.

It just all feels like too much to bare so I don’t want to deal with it. So I stuff it down like the other items I’ve been holding onto in grief this year. It’s not a good way to deal but it helps me survive.

I’ve been in touch with a counseler and hope to see him in December. My mom wants me to make an appointment for her with our psychiatrist. I think we’ll move forward in our own ways – but there’s a journey ahead. This isn’t just something you can get over.

#FMF – Church

The linkup is no longer live, but I’m still writing on the prompt because I may have something to say this time.

I’ve attended church from the womb.

My memories are vague from the early years though there are flickers. Maybe they are memories or perhaps they are stories told to me.

I remember driving to a one story church on the island and driving by skunk cabbage. Depending on the season it was a perfumed drive. I remember having a church gathering at a families home that was off the grid and a river had to be crossed to get there. Some people swam across and others were escorted in a canoe. They lived in a log cabin and the lady of the house always had her hair in braids and one of the family played the banjo. As a result I’ve always had a little leap of joy in my chest when I see/hear a banjo making an appearance. That was when we lived in Petersburg, AK.

The next church I remember was a fairly plain building in the parking lot by Crossroads Medical Center and the mission offices. I vaguely remember there being an upstairs where we had our Awana gatherings and played games. We had wooden pews which were hard for a young child to get comfortable on. I remember an older Inuit woman named Anna who would stand up in service and prophecy. It was unnerving for me but I respected her because she was an elder. I remember eating raisins from a box during the sermon and colouring in colouring books my mom brought alone. That was in Glennallen, AK.

I remember a pastor with a moustache. I remember a tiny church library, almost closet like. I remember us younger ladies were matched with older Secret sisters and mine had me over to her place a couple times. I remember the church was small enough (about 100) that we could go on a church retreat together at MBC. I remember that we once painted a car as a fundraiser and then someone from the church drove it in a destruction derby. There was a couple from this church hat invited us u to their cottage in Port Loring twice and that is how we got connected to the place that we rented a cottage for 10 years. . That was in Allison, ON.

I remember starting jr high youth group. I remember bussing to the portables on Gainsborough because we ran out of Sunday school rooms at the building. I remember walking over to the local public school where we rented the gym for youth group on Sunday. I remember baptisms, choir, special music. I remember winter retreats in Muskoka. I remember being in dramas, doing interpretive dancing and playing the handbells. I remember potlucks in the fellowship hall. I remember sleepovers in the building. I remember meeting for c&c and having Joel lead us. This was at Westpark in London, ON.

I attended a Pentecostal Church while attending Tyndale. Also a Reformed Presbyterian and Baptist Church during my time in Toronto. the Pentecostal preacher was a large Italian man that looked like he would bust out of his robes at any minute. The reformed Presbyterian church rented a room at Tyndale on Sundays. We sang songs from the Psalter, with only voices and no musical instruments allowed. After church we gathered at a home fir a fellowship meal and then had a singalong and bible study for much of the remainder of the day. It took a bus, subway and bus to get to church so I left early in the morning and it took a lot of the day to get there and back. The c&c was fairly small but a fairly close knit group. It was nice to know a couple people when attending services on Sundays. That was at Tyndale in North York, On.

I remember coming back from Toronto and feeling like I had grown up while away at University and people didn’t real know me anymore. I started attending Wortley because the pastor was one of my former youth leaders who I really admired. I got involved in ladies small group , mixed small group and was a leader in the youth group. There were two pastors who had much different styles and I really lived when the one preached. He ended up moving to Burlington for an opportunity’s and it was hard to lose him and his dear family. Eventually I began to see/hear things that made me question the direction the church was being led in. That was at Wortley/Hillside in London, ON.

When I was in Hamilton, during my first week of school there was a document shared with the students of different church’s that were available around the city. I do not remember if I went anywhere else but I ended up staying at Church on the Rock for the whole time I was in school. I also was able to attend the Ladies Coffee time at the Meadowlands CRC Church. I remember there were pens and a note page on each chair in Sundays and I ended up collecting many pens. I remember attending the ladies retreat up on Lake Huron with 50 other women all hanging out in cottages together. I remember learning new songs. I remember Daves unique style of preaching. I remember having communion set up at the back for you to take whenever. I remember praying over the shoeboxes we packed for Samaritan’s purse. I remember the mismatched mugs available for coffee time and the baptisms in the dirty river and gathering for a church picnic in the park.

I remember coming back to London and hearing about a church that was taking place in the high school near our house. I got my mom to come with me. It was Canadian Thanksgiving weekend and a young lady had been in a serious accident that weekend and the church prayed for her. I also saw one or two people that I knew from previous other church interactions. The sermon was amazing and so in depth and the music was wonderful and I felt like I had found a place that was renewing me. I got involved in kids ministry, mixed small groups and women’s bible study. At first because it was such a big church I despaired of every knowing anyone but then I slowly got to meet people and could actually see people I could consider friends. Many were former Baptist’s so we often sat in the same places every Sunday. It was nice to have that knowledge of who might be around you.

Still

I see your name come up in my memories on social media and my heart clenches and the pain and hurt is still so real.

I don’t know if it’s been two or three years since you were removed but it still aches like a fresh wound. Closure never happened, it couldn’t and so we’re left wondering what truly happened behind the words and the faces and the good and godly intentions that were put forth

It all comes down to wether we trust those in leadership I guess. Those were the words that left my mouth and yet now that I think about it they are human and how much trust are we to put in humanity. When our trust begins to be in people and not in the God who is loving and leading us what deep sorrow begins to take place and form.

I still haven’t been able to reconcile that day. I felt betrayed when everyone else on staff knew but me and my coworker. I felt torn in so many pieces as the news was shared and the division began. And it just got worse as clarity was attempted and yet there was continued hurt and pain and not a whole lot of humility and pain or even apology from those whose hands had wrought this change.

It’s hard to stay in a place where you are no longer sure of safety. Where things are dealt with in a seeming cerebral manner and little thought to the emotional and psychological cost are taken into thought.

I was working the day of the announcement. I had heard it the night before and yet each time service ended and people left the service the silence of shock and mourning left it’s mark and I could feel it choking me and others. Disbelief, anger, questions, tears and so many limited answers.

I was there when few others are when they cane to clean out his office. It was like a gut punch to the system as the cloud followed him and his friends into the finality of it all. I had no idea what to do. I may have seemed cold but I was broken inside and trying to hold it all together. I offered them what assistance I could but it didn’t seem enough.

I heard resignation in his voice. What else could there be? And if you knew him, in the limited way we did, that was a rare emotion.

There would be attempted clarification that just gave us more questions, meetings and speculation, exodus of those who stood by his side and knew more than the rest of us did. When you can only hear one side of an indictment you can’t really make a decision. There is always the unknown. You can’t come to a guilty or innocent framework when the end has already been declared by others.

I knew it deeply affected me but didn’t realize the depth of my trauma response until about 10 months later when I was cleaning rooms in the church and found my bosses office cleared out. I panicked and sent him a text. The stories that I concocted in my mind left me near panic and I could barely breathe. It had happened again. They were removing people from positions and then making what seemed to be “reasonable” excuses. I didn’t hear back from him that evening and it made my unease even deeper.

The next day I received a message that he was still around and his office had been cleared out for some work that needed to be done in it construction wise. I cried with relief but the panic still clutched at me. I knew that I had been deeply changed by the moment but didn’t realize until I was faced with possible secretive loss again that it had gone so deep into my person.

And I chose to remain. After all I worked there. But my heart was/is broken and so is my trust. And in that moment a small seed was planted of distrust and betrayal. It has since grown into anger, frustration and a sense that I don’t really matter in the scheme of things. Work wise but perhaps even soul wise.

This past year there have been moments that have further distanced my heart from that place. I spent my weekends off attending other churches when I could looking for a new place to call home. It felt like betrayal but that was false guilt. When Covid shut up our building it provided the means for me to vicariously visit other churches from the comfort of my home. It also made me feel less and less a part of the staff as I knew that they were weekly meeting still and I was further removed from the loop. Not once was there thought or movement to include me. I was checked in with once to see how I was doing. It’s a big church and they can only meet needs they know about but it hurt because I thought maybe they cared more than they do.

And I know they these things growing and taking root aren’t good. That they need to be cut off and not allowed to grow. Be repented of and seek the better way but I’m still in the midst of trying to get out but staying because I have no other job. And that’s what it boils down to, employment.

I want to scream, you don’t know me. You don’t care. I wish that we could just let the church go to shambles so they could better see and appreciate what we do. Because they call us staff but the only time we’re truly invited to enter in us at Christmas. The rest of the time we’re an afterthought and so often taken for granted.

And maybe my expectations and attitude needs a bit of adjustment but the pain is so deep and the anger so constant that it seems almost impossible to see the way forward.

And today’s memory reminds me of this ache, makes my heart hurt and wonder Whois trustworthy.

#FMF – People

Joining with my friends over at Five Minute Friday to write for five minutes on a one word topic.

Strangely, it’s a moment I’m not sure I’ll forget. I saw it on tv and speculation soared. And while I was fascinated by the why, the stricken look on her face gave me pause.

She called her hairdresser after hours, and had her cut off all her hair. It was a pretty messy job for a last minute appointment but it did the trick. She had another strange request, she wanted all her hair put in a garbage bag and given to her. What in the world?

Of course those who take pictures for a living with no regard for privacy or heart break but rather the thrill of the chase and monetary gain, were quick to discover her whereabouts and pounced as she left the salon with bag in hand.

And while I remember the commotion,it was her face that stands out. You could say she was a washed up beauty at that moment, but it was the terror and anger in her eyes that stopped me.

The rumors swirled that get boys would be taken from her if she was found to have drugs in her system. She knew that hair would hold the remnants the longest (if she had done them) and so her desperate response was to dispose of all the evidence because the one thing that was consistent for her as her boys. Everything else had blown up over the years but she desperately needed them.

So she did what she needed to do. And while rumors swirled and people said ugly things, she kept her boys and life continued. And while she tried to return she faded from the limelight. But there are things that desperation draws us to. Things we would never consider in a rational moment.

And while my stress and frustration hasn’t led to such drastic measures there are days when I remember this day and feel like shaving my head to start fighting for what’s before me. It seems in the moment to be a solution so extreme that perhaps it might be the tipping point to change.

#FMF – Born

Joining up with the wonderful crew over at Five Minute Friday where we all write on a one word prompt for five minutes and see what emerges.

Born (v) a past participle of bear. Bear (v) to hold or remain firm under (a load.)

It’s been a heavy journey. To see him change day by day. Several years ago, when my parents sat me down and told me his diagnosis, I don’t think I grasped how this would change us. I couldn’t have known, because I barely understood what the term meant.

He still looks like my dad and there are glimpses of him that remain. He’s not so far gone that he isn’t himself but there are moments where I see he has lost himself and it breaks my heart.

There are a number of factors to contribute to his slow fading, one of which is his stubbornness in the face of our suggestions but the other is a simple lack of knowing as those things which he previously grasped are slowly not accessible.

Each day when he wakes up we’re never sure if it will be a good day or a more unknown day. Keeping him from falling is paramount. Helping him manoeuvre our house is also a daily journey.

I have cried only at my psychiatrist office because otherwise I’ve always been one to stiff my feelings. But it’s an ache as he changes before our eyes and I attempt to grasp the memories I have from the past years when he was who I remember and not the reality here.

He is so loved. Each day we journey with him. The weight that is born is not singular to our family but it sometimes seems that it will one day crush all that we have known as he continues this slow fade

#FMF – Normal

Joining up at the last possible minute (well about 5 hours away) to write on this week’s prompt. Tonight there will be a twitter party and another word will be launched into the blogosphere and my friends will write. So this afternoon, I’ve decided to embrace this word and pen (type) some thoughts. Joining up with friends over at #FiveMinuteFriday and #FMFParty are my delight (though i don’t write as often as I’d like anymore)

Prompt: Normal

Oh the term normal. We all assume we know what it is. Or what it was.

We speak of returning to normal one day. Back to the days before March, where North American shut down (as did many parts of the known world). Back to what we may have each considered normal.

And while I believe there will always be a new normal, after all we’ve rarely had a worldwide virus that has wreaked such havoc, the changes will be what many born during this time will then experience as normal.

My normal changed in March. Both my jobs were closed because they were not deemed necessities. I work as a custodian at my church and as a receptionist at a Massage Therapy Clinic. Interestingly enough, I had been pondering a job change sometime this year and so when both of them kind of fell off the table, that made me think. I spent almost two years (April) at the one job and almost two (in Sept) at the other. They were my normal for the last two years. Tues to Thurs morning doing reception, and Mon night and Thurs night at church with every other Sunday. But then, it all stopped. And everything changed, seemingly overnight, but it took about a week I think for it to all come into fruition.

end of time

Now with the changes to regulations, I most likely wouldn’t be able to return as receptionist at the Therapy job. I am going to look for another job, since I have my record of employment from them. But I am sad. Because this is the end of something so good. It was one of the best run workplaces I have every worked at. I worked with 5 strong women who cared deeply about their clients and each other, and it was wonderful. I will not soon forget them. I hope to still stay in touch with them.

And I was on a leave of absence from my job as a result of Covid. Now I no longer work there. That is sad for me. But not surprising. and the new normal. Part of the new normal.

looking ahead is hard because each day is hard to know what will happen. I mean things in the past at least SEEMED predictable, even if they weren’t. Now there is so much unknown it leaves me reeling and hoping that I can just make it to the next moment. i’m wary of returning to the church because that’s a whole new set of precautions and sanitation and responsibility that I seem ill equipped to shoulder. But we’ll see. I think I have a bit of time to ease into it.

#FMF – Distraction

Joining up with friends over at Five Minute Friday for five minutes of writing on one common word for inspiration. So thankful for this community, though I. have not been much of a participant lately.

Distraction – 1) divert attention; confuse 2) disturb or trouble greatly 3) provide a pleasant diversion

I love to learn new things and often visit Wikipedia as my gateway to further exploration. But the problem with Wikipedia is that you can click from one idea into another until you have no idea where you started or how you got there.

While I’m not often saddened by my explorations and the things I learn, I do realize that often time escapes from me during these perusals and if I’m not careful I can become so distracted by my research that I forget tasks that are waiting to be done.

Pleasant diversions are not always a bad thing but if we are not careful to keep a reminder of what still needs to be done than we may find ourselves running out of room in the day. I find it particularly true during these days when life is mostly spent at home and there really isn’t much demarcation of the days

jumbled thoughts

In the past, the 6 o’clock news was the bane of my existence. Every evening the darkness would descend as each horror taking place in the city was recounted. In the beginning the reports spoke of plagues that were far off, of cities shutting down and people being quarantined but it’s half way around the world and who knows what it’s all about.

Fast forward a month and it creeps into our soil, popping up in unsuspecting emergency rooms, showing it’s brutal grip of suffocating the once alive and still beloved. The hours became interminable as they begin to turn to wax and melt away. Coworkers became ill, protective gear becomes scarce and overpriced and terror began to slowly creep into the crevices.

Each of them had begun their journeys in the years of schooling earlier. While the hospital is not somewhere they wished to give their lives they knew what shift work entailed and how they could help people to move towards health and life. That was the plan at least. But they never imagined a pandemic. They never imagined a silent killer. They never imagined unending grief and constant fear, not letting their inertia come down and always operating right at the edge, so close to falling over.

We call them heroes and they are, but they feel bruised and burned, sometimes all alone. We are isolating to prevent spread of the contagion and yet we prevent the spread of love, of touch, of being known. People are beginning to wither away. How many will become collateral damage? How long will the day’s that stretch ahead not overwhelm us to a panic attack, break down, pools of sobs, dark bedrooms and hiding under the blankets?

Each night the 6 o’clock news is on. These days the virus is making news. It seems that life revolves solely around this. It takes being out of my house on a necessary grocery run when I hear sirens and think oh some part of regular life still continues. We are stuck in a vortex of confusion and chaos. Of large sums of money being promised but confusion over its rollout. And fear that if papers are not filled out correctly that money will be demanded returned at exorbitant fees.

The way ahead seems bleak. I am unsure how to best provide for myself. I fear bankruptcy. I fear collections. I fear giving up so much of what I expect to be part of life. I fear giving up things that should be mine to have and then I realize that what I have is excess. It can be given up.

I’m afraid I cant provide for my parents. I’m afraid one of them will get sick and be alone in the hospital. (And while I think of it I think the isolation kills people just as much as the virus does. Can you imagine being alone and fighting for your life? Despair kills the heart.)Im afraid we’ll lose the house. I’m afraid we’ll lose the cars and I can’t go get grocery’s and meds. I fear that I can’t take care of them. I fear making them ill by going on errands. I fear losing my happiness and joy. I fear losing my mind in the monotony. I fear being overwhelmed and not supportive. I fear not being supported in my grief and in my fear and frustration

#FMF – Talent

Joining up with my friends over at Five Minute Friday to write on a Thursday about the topic of Talent.

I’m not sure what I’m talented at doing. If talking was a talent I’m sure that I’d win a prize 😜

There are those who play music beautifully. There are those who write words that often fill my heart with resonance. There are people who build things, design things, plan things…and I would consider that talent.

but then I start to wonder is talent innate or does it require practice and learning to hone those skills? If you are gifted can you become better at something or have you already arrived?

these are my thoughts for this prompt.