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Showing posts from January, 2010

decision factory

I have been learning how to make decisions lately. In a different way. I guess I have always been learning this, but in the past few months I have discovered that some of the machinery in my decision factory was not only out of date, but producing sub-standard end products. Everything seemed to be fine when it left the factory, but you got it home and gave it a road test: BAM the thing fell apart.

Here is the old process: Dear God, should I do A or B? Should I say yes or no to this opportunity? Is this the right thing to do at this moment? I would wait to hear an answer, read my Bible, ask wise friends, and try to weigh the outcomes of both choices. While it sounds like a simple question based on the desire to obey God, it is in fact more like an ultimatum. Only two choices. And these two choices are at the end of a long road of pre-choices and assumptions that I have already made because I thought I knew what I was doing all along the way. God is only there for quality control, showing…

square one

I woke up on Sunday morning with a sore throat. It was all too reminiscent of the same symptoms I had when I opened my eyes on November 23. This nagging cold has been my unwanted companion for 63 days and that morning, it felt like I was back at square one again. Nothing had changed; despite a few peaks of almost normalcy which never lasted long, I was still coughing, fatigued, congested, but now also worn out from the fight and all out of hope. Silly as it seems, I laid in bed and cried great big wretched sobs of hopelessness. Waking up tired, day after day with no end in sight and no significant signs of lasting improvement had reduced me to a lump of sickly flesh that was ready to give up any thoughts of being a vibrant, energetic, and well person ever again.

Of course, I did all the right things after that. I shoved the hopelessness to the side, I ignored it, I thought positive thoughts, I asked God for healing, I read my Bible, and I tried to starve the black monster through negle…

crack me up

I went to see my osteopath yesterday because I have had a pain in the side of my chest for almost two weeks. It turns out that I have a cracked rib (and a few rotated ones) probably caused by a violent coughing spell or two. Oh, and she suggested that this nasty cold that I have been battling for the past month and a half is actually low-grade pneumonia. Really? That would explain a lot of things. Yes, that would totally make sense.

Isn't it amazing how I continue to function pretty normally, or at least believe I can, when the symptoms are not screaming out loud. I will, of course, respond to blinding red lights and clanging bells and gushes of blood, you know, emergency situations...but an ache, a cough, some fatigue, a slight hint of fever. None of this is cause for concern or even a change of pace. I continue to do my work, stay up late to finish an assignment if I have to, fulfill all my commitments and make new ones, and drink a cappuccino if I am tired before going to class.

the deaf spot

This week I watched a workshop video from world-renowned percussionist, Evelyn Glennie. What is so profound about her is not only her musical talent and genius with all things percussive, but her attitude towards listening. She describes sound and listening in terms of one's whole body and not just the realm of the ears. Thinking we experience sound with only this one tiny organ is a very limiting way of looking at things, indeed. I realised this as I watched her interact with her instruments and her environment. This ears-only attitude most definitely narrows the range of what we hear to a very small spectrum of what is really going on around us.
You will perhaps be surprised to discover that she is profoundly deaf, and yet nothing about her demeanour would inform you of that fact. Out of necessity, she has enlarged her idea of listening to include her whole body as a resonating chamber. She hears with her feet (performs barefoot), her fingertips, her hands, her arms and chest, he…


I am good at jumping to conclusions. I can land on possible scenarios, hop to perceived motivations, and bounce to likely outcomes in an easy hop, skip, and jump. Though a quick and flexible mind is helpful in some ways, this particular skill is not all that useful. It keeps me off the solid ground of reality. It usually blurs the truth, and most unfortunately, I believe that it substitutes certainty, or the illusion of having hit upon something resembling certainty, for faith.

One of the things that I admire about higher education, or at least my exposure to it in my particular setting, is the opportunity it gives me to say, over and over again, "I don't know." There is a humility that this cultivates, a dependence on knowledge outside oneself, and a desire to learn and pursue a mystery, that is at the heart of nurturing a love of wisdom.
Yesterday, I tried to help some of my friends by asking pointed questions and offering what I thought might be appropriate insights. To…


I just finished my first week of classes for the winter term. Slammed is how I usually feel after the first class where we hear everything that will be required of us over the next few months. Multiply that times 3. The prof tonight suggested that we read a 700 page historical account of the reformation over the weekend. Okay then, I'll get right on that. In addition to having to accommodate the sick suggestions of my scholarly mentors who think that reading is something I can do in my sleep, I also have two presentations to prepare for next week and a 10-page paper to compose by mid-month for a conference. It is a good thing that I have been through this first-week shell shock before and am now able to restrain myself from pulling out my hair in clumps while eating a jumbo bag of potato chips.

While in Manitoba over Christmas, I heard an interview with Van Morrison. I like the guy's music and after hearing what he had to say, I really admired the man as well. He does not want …

new friend

Dear Mr. 2010:

I haven't really spent a lot of time with you yet, but I already like you.
Even though it's only been a few days, you have shown me incredible highs and exhausting lows.
I like someone with good range.
I want to make sure that I take the time to sit and stare at you at different moments, drinking in your cute button nose with so much potential for beauty and sensitivity, and appreciating your deepening lines of experience.
I won't make a big deal about your age, I promise, but will be grateful for every day as it comes to me, arms open wide to embrace its soft graces or its prickly challenges.
I will try not to complain nor compare one day to another, because all days are food to my soul: some are broccoli, some are chocolate, and some are bitter but helpful medicine.
I will try to never speak badly of your predecessors, for they were just writing the story that we gave them.
It would be great if we could always be in sync and never irritated with each other, but …