November 16, 2019

This past week or so was a time of relaxation and celebration. Our daughter travelled home to join my spouse, my son and I for a weekend of birthday joy. My spouse entered the gates of senior-hood on the 11th, and my son turns 30 today. 

The weekend began well, as the four of us gathered under one roof on Friday evening, however things went a bit south Saturday, with my daughter succumbing to a stomach bug or food poisoning or something…she has a chronic condition that requires her to be on immune suppressing medication, so when illness hits, it hits hard and long. Needless to say, for her it was truly a time of no choice but to rest  and receive TLC from the rest of us. 

Sunday, my son got called out to work – this is a good thing – as he’s been off work for several months following major surgery.  The planned birthday dinner out became ordering Chinese Food and my spouse and I enjoying it, while our daughter slept and our son laboured. I did have time to make a birthday cake. Baking is something I enjoy, but seldom do, as time often prevents it. 

I pulled out a recipe that was a family favourite when the kids were little. A simple gesture, met with gratitude from both of them. It’s one of those comfort food things – the smell of baking, and that cake is obviously still a family favourite. Our daughter couldn’t bring herself to eat it, but made sure some went home with her, to be stored in the freezer for a better day. Our son, upon entering the house after working the day, was only too eager to have dessert! 

The weekend hadn’t gone as planned, but brought moments of gratitude in spite of the changes – for time spent together; for the opportunity to care for our daughter – she lives 2 hours away, and mom can’t always be present to help in times of need; gratitude for a day of work for our son; and for birthdays. 65 and 30. Birthdays. Life. 

And then a road trip. We could not bear to put our daughter on the bus to go home to Edmonton (she is a non-driver). Kudos to Red Arrow for refunding her full fare. A little drive to Edmonton to tuck our daughter into her own home, and then on to Canmore, to enjoy the gift of the use of friends’ condominium. Walking, early Christmas shopping, good food, naps by the fire, quiet time in the mountains. I’ve always felt at peace in the mountains. There’s something about the grandeur, about the sense of security. For me, the power of the mountains is analogous to the power of God, to the constancy of God’s presence in my life. 

And now, the last two weeks of sabbatical. We went to the Anniversary Supper at the church last night…and I realized how ready I am to return to work. A very different picture from my last sabbatical, this is indeed indicative of the pastoral charge I serve, and the respect the people have for the ministry we share. That too, is a gift.  

I have some writing to do in these next couple of weeks, and some planning for Advent…and then back I will go. Looking forward to that! Except one question…how did I become a woman who has two children in their 30’s? Where did all those years go? I wouldn’t have missed a minute – even the hard stuff of parenting has made me who I am today, as a mom, a spouse, and a minister.

Author: Tammy Allan

I am in ministry with the Olds-Sundre Pastoral Charge of the United Church of Canada. I've served in a rural farm community, in a resource / tourist based community, in an urban city church, and nw back in rural ministry (over 6 years in this community). In August 2019, I began my 2nd sabbatical...the focus of which is to study what helps rural congregations thrive and flourish.

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