Posts Tagged ‘Health’


Are we always a pinkie toe may seem like a ludicrous spiritual question, yet in the world of allegory of the body one knows how relevant a pinkie toe can be in the dark and finding the coffee table?  A moment of instant discernment via pain, which is a unique contemplation as I sit reflecting on my journey over the last 2 ½ years that due to health saw me lose my helping vocation, or did it?

See, my discernment was about making my own corner of the world a little bit better as I attempted to live the Great Commandments:

34 But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. 35 And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with your entire mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

-Matthew 22:34-40 (English Standard Version)

It was the discovery of these red letters in a broken open red Gideon’s New Testament that brought me back into formal church, and unpacking the understanding, inspiration and living of it that led me for over 20 years into various fields of helping whether it was persons with disabilities, youth, young adults, seniors, patients with dementia, the homeless sector, politics, writing to name but a few…

Then it all came crashing down through unknown illness. There was no nice neat package bow of change…like a pinkie toe breaking against the coffee table one dark night the body was going to be changed for a time. And there was no telling what would be after healing. For St. Paul writes to the church in Corinth this about the body:

12 The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ. 13 Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles,[e] some are slaves, and some are free. But we have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit.[f]

14 Yes, the body has many different parts, not just one part. 15 If the foot says, “I am not a part of the body because I am not a hand,” that does not make it any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear says, “I am not part of the body because I am not an eye,” would that make it any less a part of the body? 17 If the whole body were an eye, how would you hear? Or if your whole body were an ear, how would you smell anything?

18 But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where he wants it. 19 How strange a body would be if it had only one part! 20 Yes, there are many parts, but only one body. 21 The eye can never say to the hand, “I don’t need you.” The head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you.”

-1 Corinthians 12:12-21 (New Living Translation)

We can tend to use the concept of being in the body and our gifts to create parts of the body. We may declare we are heart, liver, pancreas, toes, fingers, etc… but it can easily be that once discernment has happened that we limit God. Yes you read that right, we so become in tune with our purpose, what we will dub “our calling” (or vocation) that we do not know how to respond when that purpose ends—either positively or negatively. What happens to us? Our identity in Christ? Our holy belonging in the Body of Christ? For if we were this important piece of the body, and now no longer fill that function—someone else will. So what of us?

This is the quandary on emerging from a dark night of the soul, and looking into the new dawn; an apt metaphor this Lenten Season leading into Easter tide of the Empty Tomb, and the new Sonrise of Easter Sunday. Is our heart open to the new journey? To understanding that even though our function (body part) may have changed, that we are still blessed? We are still an Imageo Dei as was laid out for us in the Hebrew Creation Poem in Genesis 1, specifically day 6 (v. 26-27):

26 Then God said, “Let us make humankind[a] in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth,[b] and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.”

27 So God created humankind[c] in his image,
in the image of God he created them;[d]
male and female he created them.

 

For that is our creation, interdependent in the Holy “our”. The Trinity if you will, and this is how we interweave into the Body of Christ, our Community, with our calling-vocation-purpose, and when we are left with seismic shift it can leave one feeling a what if, or distraught. Yet, in the essence we are drawn closer into the Mystery of Faith. In this mystery we can begin to discern our new calling or redefinition of existing calling. Not in a vacuum but through looking at skills, encouragements from trusted friends, family and mentors. This also allows for us to change the way we belong in the Body of Christ as our gifts may shift, change and evolve with our new vocational calling.

 

As my pinkie toe healed, but I had perhaps, moved up the foot or toe spectrum. For I may not be in the field, but there was a shift for a time. It was a shift to equipping and teaching the next wave of servants for this season of life. This rests well…is it a permanent shift? Long-Term? Who knows, what is known is for this time and place this is where I am and meant to be.

For the learning on recovery it is about being open to the possibility of the new. As I phrased it to friends, I felt like I was in the seventh season of a television show and one opportunity before me felt like a spin off was going to begin, and then a teaching opportunity felt like a season 8 renewal to reframe a closure or something else, as we know once a show reaches that longevity there is usually a status quo shake up to keep viewers coming back. It was the renewal I received.

Or as noted in my journey of learning to live the Great Commandments, shifting from one body part to another in creating radical belonging for the diverse and blessed Imageo Dei’s of our world.

Today, contemplate in your vocational life…

Are you always a pinkie toe?


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


Alberta Children's Hospital in Calgary, Albert...

Alberta Children’s Hospital in Calgary, Alberta. This is at the new location (as of 2006) of the hospital. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Coming to a small town near you!

This is the press release sent us, so feel free to follow up if you are in the Alberta Area!

CabinSales.ca is Playin’ 4 Keeps, in support of the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation!

 

With children and families as their inspiration, the Alberta Children’s Hospital is able to provide nation-leading expertise on many fronts, including Brain Health,     Childhood Cancer and Life-saving Care. Ultimately, their goal is to provide world-  class health care and enable the 82 thousand children who rely on the hospital     every year to be the first to benefit from new discoveries, treatments and cures.

How can you help Playin’ 4 Keeps?

Keep your eyes and ears open!

A specially designed, play house sized piggy bank, will be coming to your community!  Bring your spare change and  help fill this giant piggy bank.  Proceeds will help support the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation to ensure that  the children and families who rely on the hospital receive the best of care..

You can even enter to win the playhouse, once we get all those pennies out of it!

Playin’ 4 Keeps…watch for it in your community.

Proudly supported by Cabin Sales.ca, ACA Electric Ltd, and Countess Country Museum.

 

Wayne Ragan

President & Founder is available for comments at:

1-877-272-9886 or playin4keeps@live.com

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Lights / Luces

Lights / Luces (Photo credit: . SantiMB .)

Reactionary emotion

heart shutting

soul rending

F-E-A-R

power made

power lost

control surrendered to another

compounds upon others…

strikes when one is at their weakest

Destructive

destruction

control regained

fear challenged

it is time

to unshutter the heart

Light of Holy Mystery to shine back in

a spark,

fanned to a glimmer,

fanned some more feeding it hope

hope sparks through the prism of the heart

warming the soul anew.


It is an ugly emotion

Let’s be honest

we think jealousy or greed

but really, Grief is what destroys

it latches on to our most carnal desires,

allows anger to seize control of a system that is too love…

Our command to love neighbour as self,

in grief possibly we can fake loving neighbour, but as the anger eats away at our insides, we truly are destroying ourselves faster than any addiction or razor blade would.

it is the root, of self-destruction, much like the love of money is the root of evil,

but grief festoons,

simply because

with loss we toss about so easily

“it is God‘s will”

What a load

of bull shit…

for how does God deem one beloved matriarch dies, while a beloved patriarch lives?

How one Mum wastes away from illness in the cells and another from illness unseen?

How it become easy, to hate one’s siblings, blood or other

as senses heightened like a were-wolf

smells out the weakness

and attacks to props one self up as higher…

Grief is destructive….

Needs the consolation of a beloved grandmother…

yet it is Nan that I miss

as she smiles down from Nirvana.


A garden statue of Francis of Assisi with birds

A garden statue of Francis of Assisi with birds (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It has been a blessing to re-enter a relationship with the Roman Catholic Church, I still look fondly upon my time there as a lay minister of praise. One of the great resources that has come to me is Elizabeth Rapley’s The Lord as Their Portion: The story of the Religious Orders and How they shaped our world. I am not done this work so there may still be more musings afoot. But what has come to mind is when I hit the section on the rise of the Mendicants, and more earnestly her snapshot of Francis The Poverello.

She points out his failure as a merchant (more enjoyed spending of the money, than the makin of) and then his less that successful soldiering, where on his first mission he was injured, captured and became a prisoner of war for  seven years. See Francis of Assisi is my patron, and one of the reasons I am attracted to his mysticism and story is that he lives. Meaning that there is no hiding what he truly was.

Rapley raises a new question to show the relevance of the story of saints today (ancient or contemporary as with Dorothy Day or even the 14 year old girl shot by the Taliban). After Francis’ return from captivity he entered a spiral of self-destruction, addiction, partying, thieving, etc… hmmm…a spiral of self-destruction with erratic behaviours…

I am pondering if Francis doesn’t hold another story of redemption and healing for today, with all those that have suffered trauma and now live with the mixed blessing of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  Why? Simple, he responded as one returning from war time. Yet in the midst of it, there was a point of clarity where he discoverd a true purpose for life.

A true purpose, the rise of the mendicants that followed him into poverty to care for the world, a reflection of the true life of Christ, the true gospel.

How does this story reflect on those we journey with who may have encountered trauma and are still living through and into the darkness? How can we shine the light? How did Francis leave the darkness?


It has been a unique week in coming to understand the English language, and that there are many words that we may believe are interchangeable at first blush but actually go to a deeper understanding of who we are as individuals and as a community.

The first two are respect and dignity. Well it is important to respect others, and ourselves obviously to have a healthy community it also allows for something negative to creep in. We can respectthe person experiencing poverty or the differently abled yet still hold that we know best to get them out of their circumstance (the charity model if you will). While Dignity is something deeper, it is more than just respect, it is seeing the other individual as a Christ-bearer as well, who has autonomy and authority within their own lives for their own choices.

The other two words are tolerance and acceptance.

Yes as a multi-cultural society we are taught to “tolerate” another’s beliefs, cultural idioms or actions.  Yet this is like respect, it is still surface level and can leave us with smugness of our rightness, that only we have the full authority or understanding to direct life.  This is bullocks.  Essentially acceptance is also realizing the other, like us, is a Christ-bearer and as such their way of life is just as valid as ours is.

The caveat being that actions need to be redirected or corrected within the context of a loving, supporting, and healing community when such actions cause harm to self, and/or others. Some examples of this would be domestic violence, addictions, honour killings, pedophilia, eating disorders, untreated mental health conditions…

Yet even these hurdles need to involve the communtiy coming around to heal with one another and the self.

So you see this journey with Christ is about respect and tolerance, but that is the beginning stepping stone to true disciple making, for the next step is into Dignity and Acceptance.  From there? Only God knows where we are heading…

 


Intriguing…it appears that we as a society to keep our elders alive need to move beyond the “ickyness” of thinking mum/dad/granny/gramps have sex, but to also be ble to aid them in a sexual health education to save their lives. Time to step up for healthy communities.


Another day, and sadly those trusted to shepherd the young revealed to be a monster:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/story/2012/02/01/calgary-sex-rodman-abuse.html

It is quite nice that the son is standing by his father the abuser, what a Christian act, yet in none of these statements are there talks of supporting the victims, aiding them in healing and walking in the light and realizing that this abuse had nothing to do with them, or the God they may or may not still believe in.

So it is fine to stand with the abuser, but in a truly restorative system the victimizer is held to account, and walked with for rehabilitation back into community in a healthy healed way, but NEVER is the victim forgotten. They are walked with towards healing, and reconciliation of their own soul and the pain they have endured, and rebuilding of that which actions such as these have stripped away from them.

So Pastor, I know this alleged monster is your Dad, and the world has changed, and he has done the “christianize” thing of confessing his sins and struggles… but what of those that he has admitted to victimizing—RAPING, and who will walk with them and speak for them, and aid the ones that still struggle in silence with their shame, hurt and pain to emerge once more into the light of community with self-worth?

Where would Jesus be in this mire? With all.

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