Navigating and staying afloat


skin boats

skin boats (Photo credit: 50mm-traveller)

It’s summer. Yup. And that means change and adaptation and realignment for me. I wrote about it here. And now I’ll share a wee bit more here.

I’ve been in a slump since Easters (reference to one of my fav. movies Nacho Libre). I sang in the choir, walked out of the church with a ceiling and walls, and couldn’t/wouldn’t/didn’t go back. I tried to figure out why. I made up excuses. I was dejected. Apart from a place I’ve been involved with for 20 years, I felt no compelling force drawing me back. I checked out an edgy inner city church. And when nobody there met my entirely unexplainable criteria, I knew I wouldn’t go back there either. I attended to soul care, read the Book, and engaged in spiritual conversations and activities and poetry. But no church.

There’s another book I read recently called Skin Boat, by John Terpstra (An interview with the author, here). A refreshing book about navigating faith (get this book!!!). Like my own faith journey, the author experiences questions without answers, a sense of belonging some days followed by lingering feelings of marginalization and confusion. His journey is shifting and liquid, and of searching for and finding enough to return for. As Terpstra says,

“I have heard everything there is to say about the place, for and against; both its necessity and its redundancy. Have felt it all, in my bones.”

And I guess, for me, it came down to what I felt in my bones this morning when I woke up. Today I chose to go because I wanted to be with my husband, sit together on a wooden pew. With anxiety and angst and dragging of feet, I pried open my fingers and received a crumb of bread from God’s table. (I didn’t go looking for bread, yet I was given enough to appease my hunger). It’s personal, what happened. But there were tears and words and nodding of heads and something inside of me realizing the reasons for staying away were far smaller than the reasons to be part of what is “church”.

Terpstra writes as both poet and cabinetmaker: “I have thought: the reason I persist is for what is being made.”

This morning I felt a seed of persistence sprouting within the soil of sadness I had allowed to gather in me. And a hint of what is possible, what is being made, should I continue to choose this place. I felt the embrace of arms, looked into eyes, listened to words that I scribbled down madly so as not to forget. The music lifted. The tears cleansed. And the seed continues to grow…

As described in this Can Lit interview, Terpstra asks himself why he keeps being part of this wayward and suffering and paradoxical institution, he responds, “this is the only place I know where time and eternity meet on a regular basis.” 

Today, I was at the meeting place.

SDG, Lesley-Anne

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Midweek Random Ramble013


1. I just came upon this video of Billy Shakespeare, performed by students from Kansas University. What a delight interesting experience to be able to watch this, listen AND READ SUBTITLES!!! If only this had been available when I was trying to read Shakespeare in High School Engish class. Just saying…

2. Amy, my hairstylist has been cutting hair for over 17 years. She’s young, and I can count on her to give me a style that is contemporary, not trying to look like I’m a teenager, and certainly not wanting to look like I’m old over 40ish! I asked her, among other things, what her favourite part of being a hair stylist is.  She said, “Well, it’s the instant gratification of the styling,” (you know, that part that I (you?) stress over each and every morning of our lives as we try to recreate what was looking sooooo good when we first had it cut). Seems that what takes me a lot of time and a lot of emotion to create, she finds to be both ‘instant’ and ‘gratifying’.  Hmmm… here’s the results this morning as I tried my best. It certainly wasn’t instant for me!

3.  I’ve committed to writing a manuscript of poetry. And I’ve almost committed to submitting it to publishers. Which means I’ve almost committed to writing a BOOK!!! I’m setting aside a time each week where I work on my poems, editing, fine tuning, rewriting them into something I feel happy with. Then I’ll go from there. It appears that I’m going to need about 64 poems that will be a substantial body of work that would be of interest to anyone. So, I’ll also be writing new poems too, as I’m not quite at the 64 mark. Just thought I’d mention it.

BTW, what’s your opinion on poetry? Does it feel rather distant, irrelevant, precious, uninteresting? Does it remind you of #1 where you struggled through Willie and didn’t quite enjoy the process? What if I told you that poetry was simply a story? To me, that is exactly what it is. My poems (which you read here every Poetry Friday) are about regular everyday people, places and things. So, when I say I’m writing a book of poetry… don’t let that put you off. I think you might like it when it’s done.

4. And here is what Halloween costumes looked like at our house this year, after a trip to Value Village and some digging around our own ‘tickle trunk’ downstairs…

… our own version of The Mad Hatter, complete with bunny…

…and a War Maiden of Celtic origins…

… and then there was Luke Skywalker…

5. Gotta go dust and vac. the house. The dog is all over it! Literally. Footprints and bits of leaves and other things Emmy has dragged inside.

Peace,

Out.

Lesley-Anne

Sol Deo Gloria