Posts Tagged ‘advent’


Unconsciously I must have known this allegory of me as Bionic Knight (read B.K. pulps here) was needed as 18 months of unknown physiological and neurological symptoms that two previous visits to ER saw everything come back as normal. Mysteries persisted and sick time evaporated, culminated in the ER cluster storm of my 39th b-day forward. A new reality that has seen symptoms evaporate due to attrition of time, not medical intervention while others persist. Yet it is in the writings of the story of a middle-aged hero that was my first super hero creation that I could begin to unpack what was going on within my own mind, heart and soul.

labyrinth

I love writing, as many who know me know… Whether it is fiction, non-fiction, poetry or plays I just love to share worldviews and percolate thoughts…I dislike recently after a good run the beating my own brain gives me as tonight I feel like I was on the losing end of a boxing match. And left outside in a winter storm. #neurolife (Facebook post from December 4, 2017)

brain-labyrinth

“4 months since 39. 9 weeks since “I can’t”.

and my faith broke.

For it is within the allegory of Super-hero we can honestly look at those that serve those in most need go through, without having to just yet look at our society in a mirror and go: we collectively decided that it was okay for this level of poverty to exist within our society, for our children, youth, young adults, elders, seniors and neighbours to live like this as we worshiped the zero-based budget.

Yet that choice, as with every choice, is like a pebble in a pond or a butterfly flapping their wings. No one can know what those ripples or wings will cause down the line, but know it is a question each of us most be prepared to ask.

It was easily summed up with these for words and punctuation many a time over:

Who is my neighbour?

stepping stones

And today we MUST continue to ask:

And how shall we live justly, safely and healthily together in community?

Where is hope found in my life?

How does my faith heal?

Advent of something new?

heart

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How’s it going?

How are you?

Innocuous questions asked, that honestly no one truly wants to hear anything but good or getting better.

But then the white noise hits. For the last 48 hours, it can be as innocuous as the hum of a router, or Enmax doing something with the electrical lines in the alleyway or sound system feedback that triggers a cascade…or flashback to those warehouse ceiling fans. Apartment heating systems. Wind tunnels created in urban jungles…want to be safe raves that predators invaded. Amazing how it all sounds the same in memory’s ear.

whitenoise

Yes, I have time now to spend doing things I enjoy—with my kids, my wife, writing, reading—yet the focus it takes for a few scants hours spread out over days, if I get off lucky and it does not trigger different types of mystery neuro events— leaves me knocked for a loop and sleeping.

But why?

Does anyone truly want to know why? Some I am sure do. Some have stuck around and walk with us, some have returned that surprised, more surprising are those you have been there for that have up and broke contact.

Yet life if life.

“It’s my fault. I quadrupled capacity, fire me fine, but I will not judge who lives and who dies in a Canadian winter when I can find space.” 

For almost a decade our shelter system ran in states of emergency during winter time, this was parallel to years of prosperity for certain folks in the province.

How do you explain a rough day? When the neuro events are the simplest part even if the experts aren’t truly sure what it is.

How do you explain the rough days where you weep from a soul pain?

Physical pain like a bite that may or may not have broken skin. A torn up back muscles. Arthritis in the shoulder. Blow out knees. Spit in the face or scalding coffee. Death threats to knives held close to my own throat/stomach could have just as easily been a discarded syringe that may have poked into my skin.

Not a physical pain that is fed by years of trying to be a light for dark paths, or a lamp post to the light.  For hopelessness is not the absence of light in the darkness, it is the belief that there never will be light again in life. A minor spark.

The tears of healing on your shoulder from one who is finding home…finding self…finding belonging…place in a world of chaos and turmoil. Knowing their own intrinsic worth and value goes beyond codes, labels, and monetary value… they matter because they are human–my neighbour.

A minor spark once more. That for me was a passionate blaze to change the world, now is crackling embers not only in brain electricity, but on the heart. For a rough day also brings the sounds, the smells, the sensations of the past.

Church basements.

Fight the urge to request prayer because—well—how would they handle knowing the devastation of the helpers? For the work is to be its own selfless reward.

Under bridges.

Back alleys

Line ups taking names.

Body swinging.

Clicking of a gun.

The smell of combustibles and other narcotics thick in the air.

Miscarriages in washrooms. Girls in shock. Boys traded for sex. The succumbing of addiction to null the pain and the lengths one will go. Why would they see themselves as more than commodities when that is all their government sees them as?

Death rattles.

Death threats.

Cold hands.

Outbreaks.

Cold sweat.

Questioning if they would be loved in heaven.

brain-labyrinth

                LGBTTQ2+ communities disowned and cast out. Veterans- from allied and enemy nations. Child soldiers. Persons without country. Temporary foreign workers cast aside at capitalism’s whim. Men and women. Children. New born babes. Babies born into custody. Institutional releases—mental hospitals, general hospitals, child and family services…. justice system. Systems more concerned with the churn than with creating health in the community. A system of justice more worried about revenge than restoration.

Seniors. Elders. Survivors. Thrivers. Barely literate to PhD’s. Experts. Celebrities. Life takes a course correction. Resiliency wains. Grief. Sorrow. Overwhelm. Addictions found, addictions succumbed to. Survivors of religious abuse. Mental illness and mental wellness. Those who believe they are oppressed, those who are oppressed. Economic refugees. Environmental refugees. Refugees fleeing violence and to save their lives. New Canadians, First Nations. Those seeking the Alberta Advantage realizing the blight. Persons with disabilities.  In a few decades the “Common Sense” revolution and the province that was made will be judged by cultural anthropologists based on the treatment of the most vulnerable, the elders and the children? We will be found failures.

A thousand faces. A thousand labels. All to the same gathering. A true Canadian Mosaic.

The stench of evil in backrooms.

Using skills, words and actions to fight against persons becoming defined by debit/credit columns, codes and commodities to those who wield political and monetary power, wondering if deafness is in institutional genetics.

Having words and lies spewed against you as other scamper for power and to create hold over others.

Lines drawn in the sand to church boards, political parties, gangsters, politicians, believed to be friends/allies, dealers and traders in evil veiled by supposed goodness, rapists, pedophiles, and neo-Nazis.

Times after dark in offices, sharing life. Folks looking for hope.

Constant on call awaiting the worst for years not sleeping soundly.

Sharing words at memorials. Baptisms. Weddings. In visitation rooms in prisons. Speaking with patients with advance Alzheimer. Sitting in rooms in schools working with students to choose life over quick cash.

Fighting with communities that preach love and inclusion yet spend more time caring about money and buildings, and who/how to segregate those that aren’t pretty enough for their idols.

The pain of a child pondering why God takes his buddies.

Words of finality spoken as earthly life ends. Hundreds of times over.

Jingle of keys into a new homes door.

Hope the predators will stay away this time.

Going through tables.

Knuckles into body.

The burn of bear and pepper spray.

The throat closing with chlorine gas exposure and other mysterious chemicals.

A body that physically aches upon awaking. A mind that cannot be trusted to function as it always has been.

The past haunts the present. Freezing one from the future.

Watching new and old colleagues alike, thrive and feel pain.

Wondering the whole time of life at a crossroads…has it mattered? Has anything or anyone’s life been changed for the better?

Asking your neighbour—yourself— how goes it? Only matters if you are ready for an honest answer.

I may choose to walk into the darkness and make a difference. I may choose self-care. But then things happen outside of our control and it cascades down and what is left is reliving…not the joys of life’s triumphs…but what rends the soul into one’s own personal hell:

The failures. The times when you couldn’t. The times when you are left standing in the valley of the shadow of death in the many forms it takes—relapse, recycle, crime, abuse, trauma, assault, eviction, unemployment, and worse of all loss of hope.

So how goes the day?

Depends on the day. Depends on the moment of the day.

The challenge moving forward in each moment is to keep grounded, and know who I am.

I am in a good place in the world.

I have walked through darkness, and yes sometimes the light may not be there but I still hold to hope that the light will come—until that moment I don’t.

What doesn’t fade is the white noise that holistically blocks me to accept me.

That moment when even I will lie to myself that it is okay because what is staring back from the void of the soul is darkness in need of light. Light that begins not with a lie to myself, but with affirming that light and beauty exist in the world.

Just a moment of peace is what is thought in the soul.

Just a moment of peace that can be found when my brain cooperates.

Just want that moment…

                                To feel like me

                                                                Once more.

For I am sorry I am not there to save you…

My neighbour….

     Spiritual thought of the week of Hope:

In the liturgical season of Hope this week…light in the darkness. A line from JL movie last night– hopelessness is not the absence of light in the darkness, it is the belief the light is never to return (Lois Lane). So the journey is in finding a way for those without hope to believe the light will return—for some it is companionship, some mindfulness, some community, some spirituality/religion, some need psycho-pharmaceutical intervention or therapy, some need all of the above…but ya wanna know something– regardless of the solution the individual needs, we are all in this together, and without loving acceptance of one another just the way we are hopelessness wins…so take time this week to shine your light of acceptance and let hope win, eh?

John 1

 


Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its continuing mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no one has gone before.

-Captain (Admiral) James T. Kirk opening monologue to Star Trek; Star Trek the Animated series and Star Trek I thru VI

Ah Star Trek, a good sci-fi world to explore many things of morals/ethics and yes, even spirituality.  Thanks to the wonders of Netflix Canada I have had the fun of re-discovering the animated series, a simple 22 episodes from 1973-74. It was a show designed as a continuation of the original Star Trek series, though declared outside of canon. Which frankly I don’t give a damn about, I enjoy good stories with characters I love, this idea of which is to be paid attention to is simply a pain in the butt. Anyways, I digress and back on point. (Full episode guide here.)

The show was fun because with animation instead of live action many more aliens could be added to the crew and worlds, as well, many new things could happen. Many of the scripts were adapted from those that were too costly to make a go on the original show. Much like the comics series and book series that followed the shows, it opened up new alien worlds explore.

The series was voiced by most of the original crew, sans Walter Koenig due to financial constraints, but Leonard Nimoy refusing to be apart of the series if the rest could not speak to a high volume of community and friendship. Yet Koenig was not absent from the series, he was the first Trek actor to writer a Star Trek story in season one’s episode The Infinite Vulcan.

It is a story of creation of a master race, imposition of peace and what truly emerges as a choice between control and free will.

Is the reader starting to see what can happen with these 23-minute episodes over a 22-week period? They work for all ages with viewing, a group of them could be used during specific times of the church year as well (ala Advent or Lent) as a special discussion series.

They are stories that can be tied into discussions, teachings for all ages, or used to craft a specific children curriculum for a part of the children’s ministry as each episode would lend itself to game/craft creation out of the story, and can easily tie into different topics from the epistles.

Considering season one’s episode Mudd’s Passion is a treatise on living as you were truly created (a nod to St. Paul’s writings in Romans that have been oh so misinterpreted as scriptures of pain over time).  There are 21 other short stories like this, that are accessible for all ages.

Basically, I do not want to offer up what a curriculum could look like for spiritual growth and direction. I do not want to say it should only be tied to the Christian Bible, for it can be used within any religious or humanist settings (as Gene Rodenberry was a rationalist humanist). What it is, is another medium for discovery and learning that can be overlooked so easily.

What it takes is someone willing to be creative. Someone who is good with craft/game/music creation or working with kids/adults to create these things on their own. Tying it into some discussion questions and launching. One thing I always stood on when I was working in churches was that money is not what was needed to create multi-generational communities. What was needed was passion, fun and purpose that when lived out becomes contagious. It creates the space for belonging for all, and that is the space that is needed.

Here is some thoughts on a simple tool that can be used.

And to quote Captain Jean-Luc Picard…

“To Boldly go where no one has gone before.”