So when I lose my way, find me
When I loose love's chains, bind me
At the end of all my faith, till the end of all my days
When I forget my name, remind me
I just had a wonderful week and a half in Saskatoon last week with the heart of my own heart, and then had to return to this equally snowy land without him for two more weeks, half of one is now over and the rest is passing fast, thankfully. As you might imagine, the prospect of going to be with him was wonderful and the prospect of leaving to be alone again filled me with restless anxiety and a feeling of inadequacy. But I have prevailed and my busyness is keeping me from thinking much about it.
While in Saskatoon, many wonderful things happened! I took Paul for a surprise date to the Festival of Trees where we particularly enjoyed a Muppet Christmas Carol Gingerbread creation and also related, the "Portrait of Scrooge" tree, topped with a top hat! I got a long overdue haircut and got it cut short this time, Paul and I double-dated with Chantal and David and made lasagna together, I had a small party of friends who were able to come to my book-themed birthday party - I'm thinking of hosting another one someday perhaps - nothing wrong with a sequel for that theme, that's for sure! Chantal brought banana cake, colored flame birthday candles, and a stuffed moose to act as a replacement for Paul when he's away. The moose is wearing a fur-lined green coat, and has been named Sage for that, and because I've started bringing him in on Skype conversations with Paul and having him nod sagely at intervals. He also dances a great deal. But he has been mute the whole time. Go figure.
I went shopping with Paul's old friend Michelle, who's now becoming my friend in her own right and has, in the true spirit of budding friendship, promised me her gently-ignored hair straightener. During that trip I found a long sleeved soft, thin black cardigan, and we have become inseparable. I literally wore it every single day since I bought it, until today - because I was hoping to get another one. I did buy another black sleeved overgarment, because having found this one I am more aware of that hole in my wardrobe. I'm walking more, and it's cold this winter, so I need to learn to layer more. Paul was joking about me becoming a woman because I've started layering. He might have a point there.
I put my nose to the grindstone for a few days and got some work done while I was there which makes my sanity feel slightly less endangered, and there are more things to create and more stuff to do, but I'm not tackling anything until I've had a few days of pseudo-rest. I got an eye exam, which was good, because my prescription has changed enough to cause some severe eyestrain.It was time to find two good pairs of glasses at one of these 2-for-1 sales everyone has these days... but little did I know that would create today's ordeal.
Church on Sunday was a bit bothersome in that it started early with choir, which I enjoyed as usual, and then made me feel uneasy as I tried to hang out with people from choir and again found myself feeling a bit like a misfit. That said, the feeling faded a little as I had a lovely conversation with a pretty new Filipino immigrant whom I'd met at membership class. (Most of you probably know that I adore Filipino people on principle, and this gentleman was no exception.) This winter marked their first snowy season in Canada. On hearing he was looking for a winter sport that wasn't too difficult to learn or dangerous (like hockey and skating and downhill skiing) but still provided exercise, I introduced him to the concept of snowshoeing, which he had never heard of before, and told him that it has a long history here and how to find more information about it on the internet, and that he could likely find them at a sporting goods store. I am fond of snowshoeing despite my mishaps in trying it twice, and would like to buy a nice pair when Paul's done school. I've added it to 43 Things anyway. =)
So God became human
And made his home with us
John 1:14, paraphrase
I do have problems fitting it at this church - and yes, perhaps it's much too early to say that, but I'm not saying people aren't being friendly and welcoming, because they really are - I'm saying I don't fit. It's every other group of people all over again. I guess really, there are places I do fit, and having found enough of them makes me feel as if I should fit universally. I wonder - did Jesus feel like he fit? Somewhere? Anywhere? To be the Son of God and sinless must have been isolating. But we know he had a best friend, and several devoted friends for sure, of both genders. So he didn't isolate himself. I guess that means I shouldn't, either. Bummer. That would be the easy road. I'm learning that I, and all who walk the narrow way, have not been called to an easy road. A fulfilling one, a merciful one, an intense one, but not an easy one. The burden would be easier if I was carrying His rather than my own.
Today Paul and I had rather an intense Skype conversation about some spiritual things, particularly something I feel called to do, but I am scared of as it feels like tackling something SO MUCH larger than myself. Paul suggested I try the Biblical route of praying, "can this cup be taken from me" or in more modern terms, "Really, God, do I have to?" I pointed out that all the major Biblical examples I can think of actually ended up following the call of God anyway. Sometimes after whale-sized consequences. I'm not particularly fond of the idea of a whale spitting me out onto a beach, or any modern-day equivalent trial. Of course marrying a hooker and dying on a cross are a bit worse, but you get the point anyway. It's so crazy because I used to always pray that I'd have a chance to make a real difference, do something really big with my life. And now when I have some kind of a chance to try and rock the boat in a really big way after rocking it on and off for years, I'm afraid and hesitant. My conviction, the strong words and passion, and the fact that I am not alone in this - that is all I have. And the call. The relentless call. The worst of it is knowing that this will be painful. It will involve, as Paul says, suffering for righteousness - a kind of lesser martyrdom. It will not be easy. But will it be worth it? Will it make some kind of a difference? Set some kind of a precedent, or pave the way to one? I do not know. I will have to obey to find out. And what if I do not ever obey? What if "in what I have failed to do" I have failed greatly? I do not wish to know, and therefore I must act.
'Cause the only way to find your life
Is to lay your own life down
And I believe it's an easy price
For the life that we have found
But enough vague soliloquy.
Somehow I've become quite clumsy. Today I tipped over a jar of bobby pins (I'm talking 50 bobby pins, not just a couple), my entire rack of necklaces which are now fairly tangled and will require some time to right... And that was JUST today. Not to mention the peppercorns yesterday when I was trying to fill the grinder, the spaghetti yesterday that flipped out of my hand onto the floor... The half-plate of spaghetti and tomato sauce that flipped onto the beige carpet a few weeks back - thankfully I had good stain remover. This is NOT my usual. I'm feeling clumsy. Maybe it's because half of me is elsewhere. =)
I've bit the bullet and registered for the EMP exam on the 17th of December. Which is going to make the 17th a VERY long brain=fried day, because I've also accepted a corporate Christmas party that evening and I have family photos that afternoon. Sheesh.
Today was a long day too. A day of erranding, with some very good parts and some very frustrating parts. I had been to a glasses dealer called Optiks at South Edmonton Common, and after taking an entire hour to browse their whole store and find two frames I liked, I sat down to order and was quoted $645. For one pair. I was so shocked I might have been a bit harsh to the girl by accident. By accident meaning I didn't act like it was her fault or anything, I just asked her to explain the pricing structure in a shrill, "How is that buy one get one free? What am I getting free here?" and then caught myself and ammended, "Could you please explain it to me?" I can't believe they're charging almost $200 for anti-glare coating. That's just ridiculous. Contrast that with my time at Hakim optical where I found two frames I liked quite a bit and both fit really well - $345! Not only that but I had a great conversation with the person that works there on the downsides of shopping with other people.
I found out from some posters on their walls that they're one of the companies that sponsors immigrants with jobs, which I personally think is great. In contrast to most conservatives, I say let them come. Particularly after my soulful experiences at both Ellis Island, NY and Pier 21 in Halifax.
I did manage to pick up a cheque at Equinox, buy a cheap replacement lens cap, UV filter, and two more memory cards, printable discs, and more today. It was a very productive day despite the bad beginnings. The fun part is that despite loading about a hundred new songs to the iPod I only listened to the one I've been listening to all week - Dancing in the Minefields, which is featured throughout this post. Also, there's a new Jason Gray album that's mainly about fear and how it steals life away from us. I need to listen to it more closely later.
Also, there's new poetry of mine. And perhaps more coming soon.
'Cause He promised not to leave us
And His promises are true
So in the face of all this chaos, baby,
I can dance with you