August 7, 2019

Yesterday was a good day with dad. He seemed much less in that place of fear that dementia, we’re learning, can cause…and much more in a place of nostalgic story telling. Yesterday I learned more about dad’s early days in the oil field, and snippets of his relationship with mom before us kids all came into their lives. What also made it good was that he talked more about mom than he has in a while. Perhaps the nostalgia helped. And so far today, he hasn’t called me. There are days my phone rings up to 8 times, with him wanting me to ‘get him out of there’. There being the amazing seniors residence he lives in. He and mom moved there last August. Can it be almost a year ago?

Today my younger brother is in the city and he will visit dad for a few days, and one of my sisters will be home from her lake house, too. So I returned home to Olds, Alberta last night. This morning I took time to read my novel; enjoy breakfast and coffee without rushing out the door; do a few household chores; and revel in the quiet. My spouse is at work, and our son is a late riser. So, today is already shaping up to be at least as good as yesterday. Thanks be!

August 5th

I officiated at a lovely garden wedding yesterday. Yes, I’m on sabbatical – this was for a family member’s friend, and planned before my dates were confirmed. It was a small, non-church gathering. I knew only the bride and groom – my family member was unable to attend. I arrived before the wedding party, as it was a small gathering, there had been no rehearsal. Yet I felt so very welcomed, and made to feel at home with this group of strangers. There wasn’t one single moment that I felt like I was an outsider. I have had that experience at some weddings away from the church – but not this one. Nothing but gracious welcome. I found myself wondering how well do we do that in the church. When someone new comes in, how good are we at making them feel at home – without being overwhelming? Something to consider as I visit churches across the prairies. Does our gift of hospitality (or lack thereof) factor into how well we thrive?

On another note…as I left the wedding, I decided to give a friend a call, and see if we could have a spur of the moment visit. So glad I did that. 3 hours later, I made the drive home, with such a sense of gratitude for that time. I realized what I’ve been missing this last while is good, deep conversation with someone who has known me for a long time. I did that with this friend, and last week with another friend. I came away from yesterday’s visit knowing that one of the things I need to do on this sabbatical journey is reconnect with people that I haven’t spoken to in way too long.

This past couple of years for me has included care-giving and support of a few family members, who have really needed the attention. That is a good thing, it’s been a humbling thing to walk with people who are working hard to be well, and strong. However it comes with the reality that it takes time away from other things. The most significant being time with my own friends, and time recharging my own energy…which as an extrovert comes from being with others.

Funny thing…I colleague commented that journaling is hard. True. I’ve never been a journaller. Ever. I get nice “journal” books, and use a page or two, and then they become note books for other things.

Blogging is new to me too…I think I’ll aim for a couple of entries a week, and see how that goes. What I’m feeling already, about this blogging thing is maybe its an extrovert thing. I know other people will be seeing it, and I find it less hard to do. Maybe its an accountability thing. I know there’s people “signed up” to read what I write. That’s odd in itself. People that want to read what I write.

Thanks for that…and for joining the journey.