Dem Bones, Dem Bones ~ Of Bugs and Bones, Part 2.


Dry-BonesCoincidence is the term used to describe two events which unexpectedly occur together in a way that makes one wonder if this is chance and simple happenstance, or is there a hand.  John Terpstra, Skin Boat ~ Acts of Faith and Other Navigations

The following year, after my first encounter with a ladybug at Seton House of Prayer, I returned to the retreat centre for what was becoming my spiritual practice of solitude and silence. I left the busyness of my daily routine, and, for a day, invited God into the silence, into the inner room of my heart. I have not yet found my journal from that visit to confirm the precise date, but my experience that day remains indelibly etched into my psyche.

In planning my time of solitude, I gathered my journal and pen, my Bible, spiritual books I was currently reading, my camera, some lunch, some layers in case the weather turned, a plain wooden box with an inscription, “Buddy ~ Forever Faithful, Forever At Rest,” and Buddy’s old collar. I carried a painful weight of loss. Buddy, my companion and muse, my gorgeous German Short Haired Pointer, had died not long before. I was not moving past his void in my life, and I thought I might be able to bring Buddy to Seton House, release his ashes there, and in that find some release for my deep sadness, find some solace from the God who again felt so distant to me.

IMG_0503.JPG

I drove to Seton House, unpacked my car, and moved into the Poustinia for the day, alone, with Buddy.

By now my solitude practice had widened to include several ways of contemplative and prayerful being, the stations of the cross, several walks with niches and statues of saints, a lovely woodland altar where one day I came upon a doe resting, a labyrinth, and a small chapel at the top of the property. I quietened myself in the Poustinia, fed by the views of my natural surroundings, read some scripture, prayed, journaled, and then took a walk to the chapel.

I felt broken, empty, so placing my body prostrate on the floor of the old chapel felt right to me, to lay myself down in a response of surrender to God and to my feelings, there, in an old wooden chapel, with a plain altar, and embraced by the forest beyond. I lay myself down. And when I opened my eyes and looked around me, I saw dozens of dead ladybugs.

My sharp intake of breath, as in the next thought vicious words drove into my mind;

This is you, Lesley-Anne! Dead. Empty. Dried up like these dead ladybugs. You are not worthy of flight. You are not who you thought you were. Rise up… I don’t think so. You aren’t going anywhere.

No, no, I cried. Tears, running down my face. No, that’s a lie! God does not speak this way. I am not dead or dried up. I am sad, mourning, and that does not disqualify me from anything. I recognized the darkness, the lies of the enemy of my soul. Thank you God that I recognized who spoke.

But I was shaken. I quickly left the chapel, made my way back to the Poustinia, as these thoughts, jumbled but memories of a certain story came to my mind;

And God took his servant to a mighty valley, full of dry bones, and he asked the man, can these bones live? (My own paraphrase and just enough to send me back to my bible with hunger to learn how God can make dead things live.)

For the next two hours I poured…poured over the scripture verses I found in the book of Ezekiel, poured out my deep anguish and despair over the death of my sweet dog, and the death of my spirit because of his loss. And I felt God asking me the same questions as were asked the prophet of old, And He said to me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord God, You know! And in me a shift, a realization, a revelation, something opening me to the answer within my pain. God knew how he might take my loss and turn it from death to life again. So I prayed it out, anguished out a surrender of whatever was going to come from my pain, and I thanked him for my dog, for the love I had experienced, and I thanked him that he could make my dry, broken, mourning bones live again.

And then, my time was over, and I packed up my things, and I went back down the mountain, with everything I took up. And the plain wooden box with the ashes of my precious Buddy remain unreleased, instead gathered, to my bedside table.

And change comes, and life comes, more pain, more loss, more dry bones transformed.

My journey continues, and the mystery of ladybugs returns from time to time,

chance and simple happenstance, or is there a hand?” “You can decide for yourself if…[these events] together have meaning or are only interesting but ultimately random coincidence of events. If you decide they do have meaning this does not imply you know what that meaning is.” John Terpstra ~ Skin Boat

Like last week…but that’s another story.

On the way,

Lesley-Anne

P.S. If you missed Part 1 of this story, see Of Bugs and Bones, Part 1.

Advertisements

He laughs at me which I need sometimes…


DSC_0038

It began several days ago with the need to fast track our young adult kids passport renewals. Well, not all of them, just the one who will be traveling to the US as a last minute addition to a soccer team in need of a strong player.

I called the 1-800 number to find out options for fast tracking her application. I was told certain things. Not all of them turned out to be true, but that’s not the funny part of the story. Here goes…

We went out and got passport photos taken at Costco. The cheapest solution by far. (then our friends told us how their daughter got rejected for a bad photo and I began to ride the worry train thinking maybe our cheap photos would result in our rejection too!)

Not familiar with long forms, our youngest convinced Daddy to help her. He sat at the kitchen counter for an hour, intent on gathering all the appropriate information required to complete the form. He did not have much patience for my delayed responses to his questions. Still, he was doing the work and I was grateful.

Tag team… I arrived at Passport Canada first thing on Tuesday morning with forms, old passports, ID and a good dose of caffeine under my belt. The line was short. I smiled as I approached the counter, a firm believer in first impressions garnering positive results. I wasn’t disappointed, the clerk was friendly and smiling when she told me I didn’t have the secondary pieces of ID required for the application to proceed. Drat! I immediately blamed Daddy who was supposed to have crossed all the ‘t’s’ prior to sending me out for part 2 of the mission. There were some additional items required on my son’s application as well, so all the ‘t’s’ were NOT crossed!

Off I went, but not before texting our youngest to see if she had the secondary ID on her person. She reminded me I had it in my wallet. So, I smiled, pulled it out, and returned to the Passport Canada Office with a renewed sense of accomplishment. I lined up again. When I got to the window I smiled and showed the ID with my signature on the back (obviously when my daughter got her Care Card she was a baby and didn’t have a signature yet.)

“Sorry”, said the clerk, “you must have her signature on it, not yours.”

“But it’s in pen,” I said.

“Then you will have to try to remove your signature and get her to sign it,” she said.

“But what if it doesn’t come off,” I said.

“Then you will have to apply for a new care card,” she said.

“But how can I do that when the timeline is so short to begin with and my daughter needs to renew her passport right away?” I asked. “Can’t you make a concession?” “I mean you have her old passport and her birth certificate.”

“Sorry,” she said, “we need two pieces of signed ID, so her driver’s license, care card, or another piece of government issued ID are required. Her birth certificate is not signed!

“But she doesn’t have a driver’s license yet, she just turned 16 today,” I said.

“Sorry,” she said. “We need 2 pieces of signed government issued ID.”

Now that was completely clear. What I needed. What I didn’t have. What my husband didn’t tell me I needed. What my daughter needed in order to get the passport that she also needed!

After I picked up my daughter from school, I got out the care card and began trying to rub off the pen. It didn’t rub off. It didn’t come off with cleanser. It didn’t come off with toothpaste. No worries, I thought, I will use some nail polish remover. It worked! The pen came off. So did the white strip across the back of the care card. Oh no! Now they are going to think I’m tampering with government issued ID, I thought. Still, I had my daughter sign the back of the card with indelible pen and that was that.

My son completed the missing pieces of information on his application, then offered me his boating license as his second piece of signed government issued ID. But what about your driver’s license, I asked him? It’s a way different signature, he said… and it was.

I shared all this with my husband early this morning while we were brushing our teeth and getting ready for the day etc. And he laughed at me. He called me ‘funny’. I told him I was going to blow a gasket but there were all sorts of signs posted about keeping the environment professional and not raising voices. I told him I would probably just curl up on the floor and cry if things didn’t go well. He laughed again and called me ‘really funny’. Maybe I am… his FUNNY GIRL!!!

This morning I returned to the Passport Canada Office with dragging feet. I anticipated not having what I needed. I anticipated having the tampered with piece of ID rejected and me possibly reprimanded to custody. I anticipated being given a strange look when I passed the boating license across the counter. I wondered if they have a little back room to hold people like me. I felt guilty. I felt unprepared. I was wrong.

The office was empty.* I went to the front of the line and passed through preliminary inspection. I sat in a seat and waited to see a government agent. The agent called me up and proceeded to walk me through the process, checked the SIGNED government issued ID in both cases and… we passed!!!!

$320 later and I was smiling again with the knowledge that opting for 10 year passports would mean I wouldn’t have to go through this process for a very, very long time. Soon a new passport will arrive in the mail for our son, and a passport for my daughter will await my pick up at the Passport Canada Office in several days time. That is, if I have my daughter fill out the appropriate line on the receipt document and SIGN her approval for me to pick it up. 2 days before she leaves for the USA.

“Don’t be surprised if your sons doesn’t arrive in the mail first,” the clerk said.

“Nothing surprises me,” I said. “Nothing.”

*note: if you live in Kelowna and have need of a passport renewal, arriving at Passport Canada between 8 and 10 am is deads-ville. Apparently this is a local culture. Every other office in Canada has a lineup at opening. Ah Kelowna, I love you!

**note 2: the photo at the top is of said daughter at her Sweet 16 paintball party, and does not indicate in any way that the thought of guns or any other form of similar device entered my mind at any time during the proceedings described above. And absolutely no animals were hurt in the writing of this blog post.

It’s beautiful out here…


324. kisses on the eyelids, so tender

325. the little bird that finds me in a parking lot, drinks water from the lid of my water bottle when I bend down to answer his question

unless

unless (Photo credit: Dean Terry)

326. dog napping at my feet

327. the first writing morning in a long number of days

328. returning to gratitude

329. summer birthdays

330. wine and sweetheart cherries in the candle lit garden

331. friends around the table

332. teenagers sleeping in late

333. teenagers who are gainfully employed

334. husband rising for work

335. healthy bodies

336. the possible

337. “Unless” by Carol Shields

338. remembering Port Townsend tribe

339. opportunities presenting when eyes and hands are open

340. friends who are patient and kind

341. morning sounds

342. finding poems where you least expect

343. considering laundry

344. God who never grows tired, never gives up, waits while I do both

345. wrinkles that prove living

346. a face held by hands, top of head kissed and life words spoken

347. directors of my spirit, soul friends

348. anticipating solitude

349. family holiday plans

350. blueberry waffle plans for tomorrows breakfast

351. photography and captured moments

352. children who pull away, grow strong, test wings

353. young adult son full license success

354. reminders of those with less that teach me more

355. reminders that intentions are not enough

356. reminders to act, phone, speak, write, touch, walk, move…

357. harvest… always

Different kinds of cherries

Different kinds of cherries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Naming one thousand gifts… day 13, 14 and 15



207. sumac hugging the banks of the upper Don River Valley

208. church spire above urban sprawl

209. old brick houses that someone still loves

210. hugging Dad

211. hugging Mom

212. playing silly hand clapping games with my neice

213. phone calls home

214. realizing home and the place you grew up are two different things

215. split rail fences

216. patina, erosion, moss, and all things that measure time passing

217. finding the one trophy I ever won for being a ‘good citizen’ in grade school

218. new and old things to photograph

219. preparing a meal for my parents

220. Hummingbird at Mom’s feeder

221. the kindness of the Go bus driver who let me ride with no cash to pay for my fare

222. moon shining on  my bed

223. internet access after a few days without it

224. playing childhood piano in the livingroom

225. good food, wine and conversation in local cafe

Naming one thousand gifts… day 12


Lost Original Television Soundtracks

196. family friendly television

197. summertime with the kids

198. time

199. preparing to go

200. two hundred good gifts from God

201. smell of waffles mid morning

202. clean bathrooms, shiny taps

203. sleepovers

204. mystery

205. sun breaking through clouds

206. remembering

Poetry Friday013


Dark lamb

On the morning that you pushed out of
her warm yet constricting comfort;

Did you know —
that you weren’t snow white
pure, and commonly desired?

Did you sense —
the beginning of knowledge in your belly
of things outside commonplace, or
revelations of rebellion?

Did you guess —
as you kicked up your heels
running joyful on your newly dried legs
in stubble not yet promising summer sweet grasses,

that the darkness that set you apart,
might be your complicated Saviour?

Lesley-Anne Evans
April 2009