Sunday, March 31, 2013

Ronald Rolheiser

Mary Magdala's Easter Prayer written as a response to John 20:1-18 by Ronal Rolheiser. 

My heart with close friends whom I love so much on this beautiful and painful Easter.


Mary Magdala's Easter Prayer:

I never suspected
  Resurrection
     And to be so painful
     To leave me weeping
With joy
  To have met you, alive and smiling, outside
    Empty tomb
With regret
    Not because I've lost you
But because I've lost you how I had you -
    In understandable, touchable, kissable, clingable flesh
  Not as fully Lord, but as graspably human.

I want to cling, despite your protest
  Cling to your body
  Cling to your, and my, clingable humanity
  Cling to what we had, our past.

But I know that . . . if I cling
  You cannot ascend and 
  I will be left clinging to your former self
  . . . unable to receive your present spirit.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Patient Trust - Teilhard de Chardin

I'm taking a religious studies class this semester, as a reprieve from the 4 psych courses which promise to make my brain both ache and grow, and the religion being focused on is that of Catholicism. I will not say too much, but all I wish to do is present to you, oh dear reader, a prayer that was read to me in class today. May it touch you as much as it did me, and teach you something about approaching potentially new stages and changes in your life.

Patient Trust:

Above all, trust in the slow work of God.
We are quite naturally impatient in everything
to reach the end without delay.

We would like to skip the intermediate stages
We are impatient of being on the way to something
  unknown, something new.

And yet, it is the law of all progress
  that it is made by passing through
some stages of instability
and that it may take a very long time.

And so I think it is with you;
your ideas mature gradually - 
let them grow, let them shape themselves, without undue haste.

Don't try to force them on,
as though you could be today what time,
(that is to say, grace and circumstances acting on your own good will)
will make of you tomorrow.

Only God could say what this new spirit
gradually forming in you will be.

Give our Lord the benefit of believing
that his hand is leading you,
and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself in suspense and incomplete.

- Teilhard de Chardin, SJ - 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2013

"For last year's words belong to last year's language and next year's words await another voice."
- T.S. Eliot -

Lying in bed this morning, after celebrating the arrival of a New Year, I began walking back through 2012. I passed rooms filled with deep sorrow that lent themselves towards comprehending adjacent rooms of deep joy. I passed rooms of laughter and tears, sometimes simultaneous in their appearance. I passed by rooms of much wasted time, and yet also rooms of time spent in true reflection and learning. I was confronted by the whispers of words I should not have spoken, and moments I missed to use my words. Surprisingly, I also heard words of beauty that somehow gracefully emerged out of my brokenness, and greater amounts of exquisitely clear words of beauty spoken to me by others. I saw the incredible snapshots of people's faces; those I have loved forever, those I've recently started to love, and those I am still trying to love. I felt anger at myself for the rooms where my mistakes lay obviously scattered around, and was glad to see the people in the centers of some of these rooms who had been brave enough to reveal to me my many faults. And I saw rooms still in renovation, where the wallpaper had been torn off, but the painting had yet to begin, or the hardwood flooring was not fully placed. These rooms I promise to keep working on, taking the advice of all the other rooms, and trying to make the unfinished ones somehow worthwhile and meaningful - not just to me, but to others too.

So as 2013 unfolds, I welcome you to peer into my "house" that I keep rebuilding, and offer suggestions, advice, encouragement, and love, or simply share a cup of tea with me, as I keep trying to work away at these rooms that are me.

Welcome 2013. Please bring blessings to my friends.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Christmas Season

Once again, you seem to have found me in an airport! I'm currently sitting on the floor of the airport in Montreal, surrounded in a fort of my own bags! I just arrived in this wintery city, and will be spending the next week here with my sister and brother-in-law, celebrating New Years, Montreal style! 

Arriving back in Canada after my trip to Southeast Asia has been interesting. With all my heart I loved being in Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, and also Taiwan - where I visited some incredible family friends after the SSU trip was over. Travelling in a group definitely has its challenges, but the countries themselves were amazing, and the people overwhelmingly hospitable. Therefore, it was difficult to leave Southeast Asia, since over the course of 2 months we barely even scratched the surface of these countries and their cultures. However, I was finding myself drained and ready to see family, so after the perfect combination of finishing our travel term by being spoiled by good friends, and STILL exploring countries I'd never been to, I arrived back in the Vancouver airport on November 22. 

To be perfectly honest with you guys, the "holidays" in Abbotsford were not restful. It was an emotional month, for a few different reasons, and so the time was spent trying to sleep, trying to be completely engaged with family, being graciously loved on by some wonderful friends, and diving straight back into work at the Abbotsford Food Bank where I have been spending my summers and Christmas holidays for the past 2 years. Because Christmas is such an emotional and difficult season for people, I found myself feeling these emotions most strongly. My co-workers, whom I love to bits, had been troopers, helping people in our community for the Christmas season since the start of November. When work closed on the 24th, over 570 singles had been given Christmas hampers throughout December, and over 600 family units had received both food hampers and gifts for their children. The numbers are high, and it makes me sad. I wish there were less people in need in Abbotsford. However, throughout it all, donations steadily came in, and people's generosity overwhelmed me. How fortunate to live in a community where people care about those in need, and can find ways to be family to one another.


Some of the highlight of December:
- Snowboarding with Nancy and my friend Bethany! They took me to Grouse Mountain in Vancouver, and I graduated from spending more time on my butt along a run than on my feet, to accidentally going down a black diamond run, and spending most of the time upright! 
- Some special conversations with some of my clients at the Food Bank; conversations that made me simultaneously cry and be so grateful for love that people can show one another.
- Spending a weekend with some amazing friends in the States and being blessed by their hospitality, their kindness, deep conversations and their crazy love. Thank you guys.

Blessings this Christmas season and throughout the New Year that approaches oh so quickly. May you, dear friends, be taken on new adventures this year, be solidly grounded with those who love you, and experience interactions with the God I love so very much.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Language and Culture - Thailand



“Past tense, present tense, future tense, even past perfect and present perfect! I don’t get it, why are foreigner so obsessed with time?”

These are the words of my frustrated 16 year old Thai sister Pim, as Laura and I attempt to prep her for her upcoming English exam. We sit at the dining room table, dishes pushed to the side, books spread out before us, suffocating both the table and Pim with English verbs, nouns, adjectives, and of course, those dreaded tenses.

I have no answer for Pim, who struggles to master a concept nonexistent in her own language. Yet it’s more than this, it’s not just the Thai language the paranoia with time is devoid of, it seems to be the culture here in Thailand as well. During one of our first lectures here in Thailand, our Aa-jaan (professor) spoke of the way in which Thai people do many things at a slower pace of life than the rest of the world; placing less emphasis on deadlines and meetings than us in the Western hemisphere. Perhaps this is due to the heat in Thailand, a stalwart attempt to remain cool despite a very strong and persistent sun that calls the sweat out of your body like a bingo announcer on redbull, but perhaps this slower pace of life is also due to the lack of past, present, and future tenses in the Thai language.
…I think I like this startling lack of time… in fact, it’s quite refreshing. Bring it on Thailand, let’s live in the now!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

The Beautiful Tragedy of a Smile

Filipinos perhaps have the best ability of any people I know to smile in the face of anything. Life could be cracking around them, or spinning completely out of control, and most Filipinos would still manage to smile. I find this a sadly beautiful trait in the Filipino culture. Sad because a simple smile often masks emotions other than joy; like an intricately woven silkscreen to hide the charred remains of a fire. This means that even when things may be terribly wrong in a Filipino's life, an onlooker would never know it, because of the smile on their face.

Yet there's a flip-side to this. At the same time, the smile always appears to be genuine; a determination in Filipinos to find the good in situations and share this joy with others. Despite how minuscule that joy might be, if you are with a Filipino it will be found.

Perhaps this sheer will to find joy is due to the amount of pain Filipinos have had to endure for years and years, both at the hands of nature and of man. Perhaps there were many times in which the only thing controllable was the smile on their faces.

It is said that to know the true extent of joy, one must know the true extent of pain. Perhaps the smile is the Filipino way of showing what they've lived through.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Philippines

The Philippines! Although everyone knows this is the country I was most thrilled to visit, I don't think I myself fully comprehended how truly excited I would be to get here! The moment we touched down in Manila, I was incredibly struck by pure joy; joy that we can be here as a school group, and joy at this amazing opportunity to be in a country I've wanted to visit for so long. To be quite honest with you, this happiness manifested itself in tears and I got quite a few stares as I smiled with tears streaming down my face in the Manila International Airport!

After arriving in Manila, we went through customs(where I was informed I should really have come with my father so that I could have a year long visa), gathered our bags, and jumped on an airport shuttle bus that was there to take us to our next terminal. The bus was packed, and we all snuggled up with our bags and each other while speakers blared "Whistle Baby" and "Call Me Maybe" and our driver sang along at the top of his lungs! Once we arrived at our terminal, we rushed to the gate for our next flight, knowing we had extremely little time to spare. They sent us straight to the last call counter and after processing our bags we quite literally ran as fast as we could through the airport, hoping against hope that our plane wouldn't leave without us! I learned that 18 foreigners running through a completely Filipino airport causes quite the commotion! To add to this adventure, they began calling all of our names on loudspeaker, and I have never heard such a huge list of names being last called in an airport ever before! However, we managed to make it alright, and collapsed in our plane for our last flight to Laoag!

My first meal in the Philippines was late last night, at Jollibees, a most scrumptious dinner, and this morning's breakfast consisted of langonisa and garlic fried rice! YESSS! All I have to say is, "now I know I'm home!"