Posts Tagged ‘Mum’


It was the flashbacks I truly did not want to relive. A week from hell for me emotionally, mentally and spiritually as the last vestige of healing scar tissue was torn away through neuro events. But it is the struggle to reclaim what is good in the memory, to re-heal. Not just succumb to the darkness of loss. Yet it is hard when you realize how drastically a system failed her, a system that sees nothing wrong in their actions, a system that blamed her child for not bringing her out of the mental illness they calcified in her soul. Her battle with cancer was long with many ups and downs that saw her transition living facilities many times throughout the years. From homestead to lodge to hospital to long-term care. The unfortunate piece of our health care system is no acknowledging the need for holistic care of the individual for cancer is not just physiological—it strips a person emotionally, mentally and spiritually. Therefore, we see defeat, anger, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Depression and Anxiety. But the system is not designed to continually engage people at appropriate levels, I saw events planned that would hold no interest for anyone regardless of their capacity or health yet the system pushed these out as “social events” to build resiliency. A system where an ill-trained palliative person told my Mum she was dying. That night on the phone was one of the few times I heard my Mum swear with her “No shit Sherlock” comment…but it was the beginning of the downward, for it had made real that which her faith had been fighting against in our many phone talks multiple times a day, or when my family would visit her as often as we could.

But the time she heard the nurse yell at me in the hallway:

“You’re her son, get her to chipper up she’s only dying and has become a depressing person. That’s your job to make her happy and fix it.”

-The Nurse

                The nurse did not appreciate my retort and it is a family blog. But I saw pain in my Mum’s eyes for now she believed she was a burden.

It took a lot to get through the hassles and hoops of institutions from health to religion to get an Anglican priest to spend time with her. After she was broken spiritually and had given up her phone to speak to the outside world. The time of reconciliation when I spoke with her after the visit brought her soul piece. It proves to me that when talk of being palliative happens with patients there needs to be acknowledgement of their spiritual cultural roots and individuals from those roots should be involved in bringing the news, and reading the situation (and many who have known me know that I have been the one to sit and walk during this time). I do believe her outcome may not have changed, but the path there would have been immensely different.

Her last weekend, though, my old life loving Mum resurged, and she had time to play a little, joke and sing a little with her grandkids. Her Leland, had become her pal of comfort on family times and events ensuring his Nana was taken care of by sitting next to her and even with his cerebral palsy getting her things she needed. Her little Princess, was all about the songs and dancing and fancy Nancy times (My Mum would always chuckle how she skinned her chicken nuggets when we would go to McDonald’s). My kids were born after my Mum was diagnosed, but this weekend, this day I know it was the simpler joy of being family that mattered.

Sadly, a few days later my Mum’s journey would transition her to as my daughter always believes, the “great tea party” in Heaven being simply love.  Centennial Presbyterian Church would continue being apart of the life journey of our family (both myself and my daughter are VBS kids, we as a family had been members for a time).

It was the last place my Mum would publicly hear me preach.

“We could always come to your Mum if our family needed food and she had this pantry”

-Neighbour at her Celebration of Life Tea

It is the spiritual place that opened their building to our family. A place I celebrated her life, and yes even in the whispers I heard the hecklers stating I dishonoured, but allowed the majority of those that saw her light shine through drown out. For I knew I had shared everything she told me she wanted in a simple service, before high tea.

“Everything I have heard today makes me wish I could have known this quirky amazing loving lady who was a neighbour and Mum to many”

-Rev. Smith (from Centennial) attending to support my family.

And months later, it would be the last public sermon I would give in 2014 doing pulpit supply. I stood in the pulpit I had celebrated my Mum’s life, next to the altar that had bore her ashes. Knowing she would never be able to hear me again. Sit in the pew with that smile.

Do I miss preaching?

Yes. I have had opportunities to speak, but no pulpits have called since…perhaps one day one will again.

“One day a church will be brave enough to call you. When that happens, I will join and be there every Sunday to support you and your family.”

My Mum, on the many trials of churches I had traveled through

Playlist:

Paul Brandt’s Jesus Loves Me

Brad Paisley’s Me and Jesus

Paul Brandt’s Amazing Grace

End Notes:

  • I want to acknowledge and honour her family (blood and chosen (close friends)) that continued the journey with her, my Dad who was the hardest working, and loving husband and Dad during this time.
  • My Mum gave me an old King James Bible when I returned to church at 19 years old and began teaching Sunday School. She also bought me the bible I took with me and wore out in my years at Bible College. Growing up each summer until we aged out, she would register me for the Vacation Bible School at Centennial Presbyterian Church, she would always encourage a simple belief in God is love, and to do good things.
  • I did attempt to file complaints and advocate for better mental health care in rural Alberta at the time, but AHS and the Health Ministry under our previous government would not respond.
  • There was nothing nefarious on the timing of my last pulpit supply, I have been booked for speaking, teaching, and life celebrations since, but no pulpits have opened.
  • Mum memorial 
Advertisements

Billy Graham can be seen as a polarizing figure, sadly some it is due to confusion with his son, other due to his non-wavering on his conservative Christian beliefs. He was a well travelled evangelist, who built quite a para-church ministry out of simple messages. The first being the very modernistic Roman Roads understanding that God demanded blood for Original Sin, and Jesus died for that ransom. Yes, this filled stadiums, many were already churched when they went, others were brought with friends. When I read Johnny Cash’s memoir, few may not know that he was the worship leader of these grand crusades (renaming of the tent revival). Yes, Rev. Graham had what is known as a fundamental understanding of theology, and held to traditional literalism. Which is why I can understand the opposing view presented by Michael Coren’s Otherside of Billy Graham in response to the “Saint” articles remembering the man. Let us remember it was Dorothy Day who said she never wanted to be a saint as to sink into irrelevance, and by creating a sanitized Saint story of Billy Graham I believe we do that.

It is okay to show the scars and all depending on your theological point of view of anyone. In Calgary, Licia Corbella wrote a great editorial in the Calgary Herald from the perspective of an attendee (1 of 215 million if I remember correctly). I pulled the quote of President Obama and Carter on who they knew Rev. Graham to be, as a counter point to Coren’s, so 3 “left” perspectives can be put forward of one person.

Former president Barack Obama called him “a humble servant who prayed for so many — and who, with wisdom and grace, gave hope and guidance to generations of Americans.”

Former president Jimmy Carter said: “Broad-minded, forgiving and humble in his treatment of others, he exemplified the life of Jesus Christ by constantly reaching out for opportunities to serve.” (From Licia Corbella’s editorial on Billy Graham’s passing).

What is that? A person is complex? Why does this matter to me who regular readers probably even question if I belong under the tent of “Christianity” (definitely many would say heretic would fit, and I know there’s a quarum that would not speak kindly upon my passing). It is because I attended a Crusade, sadly if was Franklin (who yes equated even the obese as hell bound) and not his father, but Rev. Graham aside from his writing, and providing spiritual direction to one of my favourite singer’s (Johnny Cash) and inspiration to a theologian I enjoy and draw inspiration from (Jimmy Carter) …he was someone my Mum and Nan respected.

No, it was not the bathed in the blood died for our sins thing either. Both these matriarchs that guided me in the faith took another touchstone message that Graham stayed on target with. Do not judge, live out of love.

                I understand the complexity of the man. I understand the conservatism of his beliefs. I understand the harm some of the messengers inspired by him have caused. I have seen the good works from others in building a better world inspired by the same words. I know, there is an afterlife, none of us know what it is, but he is there in that holy love.

But I do know…those that hear the message have something that needs to be taken into their heart: We cannot remain static. As we grow, our experience shapes our heart, and we must allow that experience to build on the simple cornerstone messages that charted our course on the journey.

Do not make any saint or hero irrelevant through sanitizing their life.

Make them relevant by showing who they were, how they struggled. More importantly though the complexity of the legacy left in how they loved…and for us here it is about using our hearts and minds to understand what it means for the next step forward.


Ah parables. How best to reach an oral culture only kind of coming into written records. And those written records are tied more to the authorities, the wealthy than the collected masses, or as Marx would dub us the proletariat. The working classes. These are the classes that Jesus of Nazareth, Brother Jesus would emerge from. AN unwed mother married to a carpenter/labourer to literally save her from an unkindly street death. But he was one that got it, connected deeply to the source of all that is. Showing the way that we all could be connected into the source of Love.

It is the parable that touched into the deeper levels of the person, and allowed for the early followers of the Cosmic Christ in the flesh so diverse. Just think of it—outcasts, those with health issues, mental health concerns; sex trade workers, labourers, wealthy religious (in secret), Roman soldiers/officers and Zealots to name but a few. It was this type of parable that the social gospel movement in Canada tied into to get folks active for political and societal change. For example the story of Mouseland, with one of the most famous being Tommy Douglas, but also among the ranks Bible Bill Aberhart, Preston Manning, Joe Clark, Pierre Trudeau, J.S. Woodsworth, Agnes MacPhail (her image now gracing the $10 Canadian note), Paul Martin Jr., Rev. Bill Phipps, Elizabeth May, my own parents and grandparents,  to name but a few. But truly it is those driven by a deep conviction that we are created good, and as such we are to live out this ideal of justice, peace, faith, hope and love as laid out by Brother Jesus. So, I am sure there are many examples within your own world and life if you take but a moment to pause and ponder.

For it is in the parables that Brother Jesus lays out a path of self-discovery. A path that shows where we and our neighbours can be existing, but also at different phases in our lives where we have existed. For with planting soil changes over time, that which was not able to grow previous with the right tending and additions can become quite fertile.  This is the thrust found within the parable of the sower.

It is in most gospel texts that one would class as canonical, so if you wish to use this reflection with those texts, they can be found in the synoptic gospels in: Matthew 13:1-23, Mark 4:1-20, and Luke 8:1-15. Though we will continue to use Levi’s Aquarian gospel from the early 1900’s as the newer wording may touch a different chord. In that text it is found in chapter 115, which you may read here for full context

As always, I invite you to get comfortable where you are sitting. It is a meditative lectio divina as you hear the parable three times, with different focus questions to see where the soil of your heart is at, and where it is being renewed.  Before you begin, write on a scrap of paper that which you need to leave in the hear and now that can distract you. Once written crumple up and throw into the recycle. Those distractions, busyness, weights of the heart can come back after, but here, now your full presence is asked for.

Take time to slow your breathing, deep breaths in of cosmic love, the dust that formed your very essence as good. Breathe out the chakra sludge that separates you from that goodness.

Feel the 21st century technological buzzing fade away. Feel the chair you are sitting on disappear, along with the walls of where you are. The time. Travel back. Feel the dust and fresh breeze untouched by the Industrial Revolution. Smell the sea air.  The smell of the crowds, intermingling. You are on the outskirts of the crowd. People had spoken about this teacher, this Jesus of Nazareth. Some called him a bastard child and/or insane. Others said he was a master teacher, one with a new way to truly transform things.

As you hear the story the first time, think of when your heart was like the rocky soil where messages/actions of love were easily carried away by others, like the birds. Sit with one memory, what has or has not changed in your life since then?

The first hearing:

  1. And Jesus stood beside the sea and taught; the multitudes pressed close upon him and he went into a boat that was near by and put a little ways from shore, and then he spoke in parables; he said,
    Behold, a sower took his seed and went into his field to sow.
    3. With lavish hand he scattered forth the seed and some fell in the hardened paths that men had made,
    4. And soon were crushed beneath the feet of other men; and birds came down and carried all the seeds away.
    5. Some seed fell on rocky ground where there was little soil; they grew and soon the blades appeared and promised much;
    6. But then there was no depth of soil, no chance for nourishment, and in the heat of noonday sun they withered up and died.
    7. Some seed fell where thistles grew, and found no earth in which to grow and they were lost;
    8. But other seed found lodgement in the rich and tender soil and grew apace, and in the harvest it was found that some brought forth a hundred fold, some sixty fold, some thirty fold.
    9. They who have ears to hear may hear; they who hearts to understand may know.
    10. Now, his disciples were beside him in the boat, and Thomas asked, Why do you speak in parables?
    11. And Jesus said, My words, like every master’s words, are dual in their sense.
    12. To you who know the language of the soul, my words have meanings far too deep for other men to comprehend.
    13. The other sense of what I say is all the multitude can understand; these words are food for them; the inner thoughts are food for you.
    14. Let every one reach forth and take the food that he is ready to receive.
    15. And then he spoke that all might hear; he said, Hear you the meaning of the parable:
    16. Men hear my words and understand them not, and then the carnal self purloins the seed, and not a sign of spirit life appears.
    17. This is the seed that fell within the beaten paths of men.
    18. And others hear the words of life, and with a fiery zeal receive them all; they seem to comprehend the truth and promise well;
    19. But troubles come; discouragements arise; there is no depth of thought; their good intentions wither up and die.
    20. These are the seeds that fell in stony ground.
    21. And others hear the words of truth and seem to know their worth; but love of pleasure, reputation, wealth and fame fill all the soil; the seeds are nourished not and they are lost.
    22. These are the seeds that fell among the thistles and the thorns.
    23. But others hear the words of truth and comprehend them well; they sink down deep into their souls; they live the holy life and all the world is blest.
    24. These are the seeds that fell in fertile soil, that brought forth fruit abundantly.
    25. You men of Galilee, take heed to how you hear and how you cultivate your fields; for if you slight the offers of this day, the sower may not come to you again in this or in the age to come.

-Aquarian Gospel 115: 1-25

As you prepare for the second hearing. Think of the next step of life in self-discovery, within that inner battle of transfiguration. When have you been like the seed battling in the soil with the weeds to emerge and not taking hold? Let these memories move from your mind to your heart. Spend time with the root cause of rooting in the weeds instead of the seed of love? Are you ready to breathe out this sludge?

The second hearing:

  1. And Jesus stood beside the sea and taught; the multitudes pressed close upon him and he went into a boat that was near by and put a little ways from shore, and then he spoke in parables; he said,
    Behold, a sower took his seed and went into his field to sow.
    3. With lavish hand he scattered forth the seed and some fell in the hardened paths that men had made,
    4. And soon were crushed beneath the feet of other men; and birds came down and carried all the seeds away.
    5. Some seed fell on rocky ground where there was little soil; they grew and soon the blades appeared and promised much;
    6. But then there was no depth of soil, no chance for nourishment, and in the heat of noonday sun they withered up and died.
    7. Some seed fell where thistles grew, and found no earth in which to grow and they were lost;
    8. But other seed found lodgement in the rich and tender soil and grew apace, and in the harvest it was found that some brought forth a hundred fold, some sixty fold, some thirty fold.
    9. They who have ears to hear may hear; they who hearts to understand may know.
    10. Now, his disciples were beside him in the boat, and Thomas asked, Why do you speak in parables?
    11. And Jesus said, My words, like every master’s words, are dual in their sense.
    12. To you who know the language of the soul, my words have meanings far too deep for other men to comprehend.
    13. The other sense of what I say is all the multitude can understand; these words are food for them; the inner thoughts are food for you.
    14. Let every one reach forth and take the food that he is ready to receive.
    15. And then he spoke that all might hear; he said, Hear you the meaning of the parable:
    16. Men hear my words and understand them not, and then the carnal self purloins the seed, and not a sign of spirit life appears.
    17. This is the seed that fell within the beaten paths of men.
    18. And others hear the words of life, and with a fiery zeal receive them all; they seem to comprehend the truth and promise well;
    19. But troubles come; discouragements arise; there is no depth of thought; their good intentions wither up and die.
    20. These are the seeds that fell in stony ground.
    21. And others hear the words of truth and seem to know their worth; but love of pleasure, reputation, wealth and fame fill all the soil; the seeds are nourished not and they are lost.
    22. These are the seeds that fell among the thistles and the thorns.
    23. But others hear the words of truth and comprehend them well; they sink down deep into their souls; they live the holy life and all the world is blest.
    24. These are the seeds that fell in fertile soil, that brought forth fruit abundantly.
    25. You men of Galilee, take heed to how you hear and how you cultivate your fields; for if you slight the offers of this day, the sower may not come to you again in this or in the age to come.

-Aquarian Gospel 115: 1-25

Prepare yourself for the last hearing. When soil is fertile for the seed to take hold. Is there a time of remembrance in your life, your very soul energy that you can remember this? Even in the journeys that go to and fro where we exist mostly in rocks and weeds, there are glimmers of this or long lived life in the nourished soil. Take hold of the memories. Spend time going deeper into them to the core spark/stardust that is the ember of the Cosmic Christ within.

The Third Hearing:

  1. And Jesus stood beside the sea and taught; the multitudes pressed close upon him and he went into a boat that was near by and put a little ways from shore, and then he spoke in parables; he said,
    Behold, a sower took his seed and went into his field to sow.
    3. With lavish hand he scattered forth the seed and some fell in the hardened paths that men had made,
    4. And soon were crushed beneath the feet of other men; and birds came down and carried all the seeds away.
    5. Some seed fell on rocky ground where there was little soil; they grew and soon the blades appeared and promised much;
    6. But then there was no depth of soil, no chance for nourishment, and in the heat of noonday sun they withered up and died.
    7. Some seed fell where thistles grew, and found no earth in which to grow and they were lost;
    8. But other seed found lodgement in the rich and tender soil and grew apace, and in the harvest it was found that some brought forth a hundred fold, some sixty fold, some thirty fold.
    9. They who have ears to hear may hear; they who hearts to understand may know.
    10. Now, his disciples were beside him in the boat, and Thomas asked, Why do you speak in parables?
    11. And Jesus said, My words, like every master’s words, are dual in their sense.
    12. To you who know the language of the soul, my words have meanings far too deep for other men to comprehend.
    13. The other sense of what I say is all the multitude can understand; these words are food for them; the inner thoughts are food for you.
    14. Let every one reach forth and take the food that he is ready to receive.
    15. And then he spoke that all might hear; he said, Hear you the meaning of the parable:
    16. Men hear my words and understand them not, and then the carnal self purloins the seed, and not a sign of spirit life appears.
    17. This is the seed that fell within the beaten paths of men.
    18. And others hear the words of life, and with a fiery zeal receive them all; they seem to comprehend the truth and promise well;
    19. But troubles come; discouragements arise; there is no depth of thought; their good intentions wither up and die.
    20. These are the seeds that fell in stony ground.
    21. And others hear the words of truth and seem to know their worth; but love of pleasure, reputation, wealth and fame fill all the soil; the seeds are nourished not and they are lost.
    22. These are the seeds that fell among the thistles and the thorns.
    23. But others hear the words of truth and comprehend them well; they sink down deep into their souls; they live the holy life and all the world is blest.
    24. These are the seeds that fell in fertile soil, that brought forth fruit abundantly.
    25. You men of Galilee, take heed to how you hear and how you cultivate your fields; for if you slight the offers of this day, the sower may not come to you again in this or in the age to come.

-Aquarian Gospel 115: 1-25

 

Are you willing to take hold of that ember and fan it?

Are you able to live from that spark into and out of the divine?

When you are ready with that spark. Visualizing it moving through each of the seven chakras to firmly root in the opening/awakening crown chakra. Breath in deeply the love of all, breathe out the love of all. Feel the fresh air fade away. The breeze on your face stop. The noise of the crowds. You are the fertile soil the Master Sower has found.

Hold to this truth.

As you move forward through time.

As your room reforms around you.

Your chair.

Your breath slowly returns to normal.

Your eyes re-open.

Your very essence awakens.

Are you willing to truly live as the Master Sower has sowed you?

What are you going to do today to step into your destiny of love?

Missing Matriarchs

Posted: November 8, 2015 by Ty in New Thought Journal
Tags: , , ,

It is a silent rule

regardless of family structure

when crisis strikes

the ear of the Mum, Nan

is always open and available.

Then you grow

some call you adult

the matriarchs do not remain

young eternally…

but still only a phone call away- –

Then there comes a time

when transitioning happens

and you stand witness

of empty chairs

once filled with love

now simply empty spaces

at the family circle,

an open heart sought

to share pain

gain insight

hear wisdom

feel love

all that is there

is the shadow

of emptiness.


What a whirlwind it was leading up to the vacation time, which was a staycation to truly rediscover time with the family. A whirlwind for anyone who serves the public knows that if you do not keep a beat on your own soul it is easy to flame out. As the soulmate would say, something is off. Yet it was most summed up early on this vacation week.

See since the summer when we packed up my Mum’s belongings for a final time, I had her Tibetan prayer beads I wore around my wrist. In an attempt to keep the neighbour’s cat from using my backyard as their litter box (it drives our dog a bit barmy). I felt the beads leave my wrist and heard them hit what I thought was leaves. Went back to look, only to discover that the bracelet was no longer in tact, and that little black beads vanish into leaf piles quite quickly.

Yes it is a loss.

Yet it is also a time for reflection for me, yes it was a sad time, as it was something from my Mum, but it was also just a thing. Yet in the essence of the spiritual journey it was a representation of something else. Something that my wife touched upon in our Sacred Circle time. Yes they were Buddhist prayer beads, which for some raised Christian spoke volumes to the way my family believed (all one God just different ways of knowing)…yet as they vanished, it was also a door closing for me as I realized that the spiritual journey of practice and equipping to be a pulpit pastor closed off and vanished.

The fitting of the square peg into the round hole, ended…but wholeness was left.

It has been a month of reflecting trying to struggle through pain that for many years has been put aside as I served as the glue to hold others together, until the glue itself was drying out, but was it too late? Had a hurdle been reached that one would not be able to turn back from?

See, my life has always been about chasing a passion and discovering how to make a living at it. A life lived completing dreams, and passions, and now as a family man, arriving at where I feel professionally I believe I fit, personally loving my life, yet in those moments an ache of missing for the family that are not here to journey with anymore.

Living in the family home, with the ghosts of the past constantly present. Creating memories in the present, and talking of what the future holds.

Yet…

Are there new dreams? New passions to ignite? What is the next wall to tear down? The next circle to dance?

As the beads hit the leaves it was a feeling of loss, but it was a loss that was more like a release of what was before, and making a conscious choice that in that moment, yes it is sad, but it opens up a new future.

The question is how to be present in the now so the future reveals?


Okay so yesterday is one of the hardest days in my journey thus far. While in the Calgary Centre for Spiritual Living’s Mother’s Day Service, great music as usual, inspirational talk, but a void in the heart…or is there?

It has been just 18ish months since my Mum, and best friend, transitioned to Nirvana…and a year before that My Nan, another bestie, tranistioned to Paradise.

I am the deeply spiritual man I am because of their encouragement to discover my own beliefs and path.

I am who I am when it comes to raising my daughter to believe she can do anything because of the women in my life who taught me and showed me that gender roles were only societal constructs.

My heart is open to decisions on life/end of life that probably do not fit with most Christian’s norms because I have walked the Dark Night of the Soul with both these matriarchs.

Yet here I was choking on tears in SAIT Orpheus Theatre, as my son read his books and song along to music, and my wife held my hand, for in the moment as we reflect on the women who shaped our lives and souls, it felt like mine was empty…

Yet my Mum fought hard to be with my family, and her new grandkids. I still remember over hearing her having my wife promise to take care of me while she was in extended care at the Bassano Hospital. I remember the daily phone calls, some good, some talking her into simply waking up the next morning, the long road trips to and fro, and affirming her choice to end/restart treatments…knowing that she knew we loved her deeply.

I still remember the last day, two days before she passed, when she had her miracle day with her grandkids, was able to talk and play a little with my boy and girl so they could always hold in their hearts and not the illnesses that claimed her.

So here I reflect mourning a loss, but as we drive home from SAIT a spark of hope in my heart.

For while my Mum & Nan may have transitioned, the loving qualities of family that shaped me shine through in my beloved, my wife, and the mother of my two babies (three with the fur one)… so yes, my own Mum transitioned, but her love and character lives on in the love shared with my wife, and through her.

No matter when we meet in this world, or where on our journey we are, it is love that truly binds us as family, and whom our mothers are that shape us.

I am a blessed man for the beautfiul matriachs who have shared my journey.