The Porch Perspective

Fulfillment is overrated.

 

The art of spaciousness is lost on a fast-food nation which seeks to fill what is ‘empty’, when really that void is our saving grace, the chance to find—and nurture—our souls.

 

We’re living in a soul-less existence feeding on hurry, furry, heedlessly seeking money to buy more things to fill in more time.

 

Fast food breeds fast cash breeds fast pace breeds fast death. The porch has long been replaced by a ‘deck’ which lets residents step back into society far too easily.

 

The porch had railings, a rocking chair, a canopy. It was a special space, a haven for hosting thoughts and in those thoughts, salvation from ourselves.

 

It’s in those ‘empty’ moments we’re forced to face our corporate selves and then, to let such malignant thoughts be vindicated by the soothing sound of silence.

 

If we don’t stop to watch the sun set, we’ll never truly understand the essence of time. If we don’t stop to listen to birds sing, we’ll never truly know the sound of joy.

 

Live deliberately by undoing society’s influence, by letting time unravel. Walk along the red carpet of this sacred moment to the place which is peace, simplicity, being.

 

Then you will know the art of spaciousness.

 

 

living in the moment

i think it’s possible to experience heaven here on earth.

i believe God intended heaven to be a current possibility rather than a futuristic concept.

these the past 28 years i’ve been wrung dry by worry. i’m not sure why. i’ve been sad and in constant motion, ever doing, never resting, all for fear of wasting time.

within this time i’ve felt very distant from God. detached. like he doesn’t hear, doesn’t see, doesn’t listen.

this morning i read Psalm 22: “Oh my God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, and am not silent.” i thought to myself, “exactly.”

then i went for a run. a membrane of thin cloud stretched across the sky. underneath my feet, gravel; at my sides, stretches of wheat fields as far as the eye could see. in my ears, Nightwish, my new favourite band. then all of a sudden, a thought which i could only attribute to God: “remember when i said ‘watch me take care of you?'”

and i did. i remembered. it was a few weeks ago while i was weeding my flower bed. i heard in my mind “watch me take care of you.”

then i was let go from my job and all sorts of other fears flooded my mental-scape and i began to forget about that divine message.

my husband is always telling me to live in the moment. i realized–in that particular moment on that gravel trail in my neck of the woods–that God was saying i had chosen not to hear him. chosen not to listen.

so i came home and decided to take a vacation from my worries. i was going to watch as God took care of me. i would live in the moment, thinking only about current events and choosing to enjoy myself, to rise above circumstances and simply ‘be.’

why, i wondered, did God make us capable of fear and worry? why does he allow us to go through such pain?

it was then that i realized it takes going through hell to appreciate heaven. and on earth, we have a choice… we can experience heaven on a daily basis… we can surrender our worries, and let our minds and souls be flooded with peace knowing someone is taking care of us.

it’s not about going through hell now with the hope that someday we’ll die and get to heaven; it’s about making heaven a part of our every-day existence.

forgiving. redeeming what is lost. trusting. letting go. living in the moment.

days of unending light

In a few days we’ll be packing up our veggie car and tooting down the long road to Alberta. I can’t wait. For one week we can wave goodbye to responsibility; our lives will consist of camping, listening to stories on tape, and watching our gorgeous country zip by in colourful smudges of green, yellow and blue.

Isn’t that what summer’s about? Smokey fires, burnt sausages in a bun, and tenting under the stars? It’s these moments which revive our souls, nurture our minds, and remind us we’re not the centre of the universe. I cannot wait.

And yet, I need to. I need to slow down and let things take their course. Because all too soon these days of unending light will be replaced by fall-time flurry.

spirit meets flesh

This morning Mum can’t distinguish between her sandwich and her cookie.
She’s dressed entirely in blue; her shirt is tucked into her stretchy pants which are pulled up high so it looks like she has no waist. She’s slouched over the table when I come in. For the past hour she’s been staring at her piece of bread which Dad decorated with cheese and peanut-butter before leaving for work.
I’m kicking myself for not getting there sooner. She doesn’t seem to notice. Just smiles up at me with cherry blossom cheeks and big blue eyes and sips more of her mocha. Her left hand is hanging limply at her side. I know she’s spent the past hour trying to figure out how to pick up her sandwich.
“Is this breakfast?” I ask. “Or lunch? Or brunch?”
“Yes.”
“Are you hungry?”
“Oh definitely,” she says.
I gently wrap her left hand around the sandwich, help her lift it to her mouth. She eagerly chews.
I put on some music, then feed her more cheese and bread.
That’s when I ask if she wants a cookie.
She looks at me, then the sandwich. Points to it. “This?”
“No, this is a sandwich. Would you like a cookie?”
She looks confused, eyes vacant. Then she picks up her yellow napkin and begins to keep time with it. Starts to sing. “Hallelujah, Jesus is my everything…” Doesn’t miss a beat.
I can’t hold back the tears.
Step into the kitchen, grab a cookie.
Yesterday I had a difficult conversation with my boss, which resulted in me no longer working there. For awhile my world became a crumbling cookie in my hand. But now I’m here. I sit with Mum for five minutes… and all the pieces are glued back together again… without anything really changing. Mum doesn’t have the answers. Some people would say her sickness should shake my faith. But it’s these broken-down moments that make me realize, life is about seeing what isn’t visible to the naked eye.
Normally Mum lives for chocolate chip cookies. This morning, she can’t even recognize one. She can’t even lift her own arm to feed herself. But she can praise Jesus… I hear her soft voice, see her rocking back and forth in her chair, her left hand now clenched tightly around the cheese and bread.
I recall something my friend told me, about farmers in Peru whose houses are made from the clay they walk on. Some would say they live in squalor. Yet these farmers don’t see it that way. They have food and shelter—in their eyes, they’re rich. And when white westerners come and spend time with them, they don’t see it as opportunity for judgment or jealousy. They weep with gratitude for guests who want to spend time with them. We might call that naivety, but really, we’re the ones missing out on the big picture. A picture which stretches far beyond the frame into a place where spirituality becomes reality.
No wonder Jesus called children the true hosts of heaven. Babies are miracles in themselves; fresh from the womb—a place where spirit meets flesh. They are like fresh pottery from the wheel, with the Father’s fingerprints still drying in their skin. The older they get, the harder it becomes to recognize those prints. Skin becomes brittle, dry, old.
By now Mum’s head is slumped over onto her chest. I try to pry her fingers away from the bread; it hurts her. “Ouch” she says.
Then the chorus comes on again and she immediately starts singing, “Hallelujah… Jesus is my everything.”
It’s about looking beyond the visible. Right then I don’t see a woman with cancer. I see faith.

rambles

It’s Canada Day and I just spent it with my favourite people in the world: my hubby, my Mum, my Dad and Jack Black. Well, I wouldn’t say Jack is one of my faves but we sure enjoyed his movie, Kung-Fu Panda. Mum was fuzzy, but she still laughed and seemed to enjoy herself although tomorrow she’ll wake up and think it’s Canada Day all over again. These kinds of days just seem to be wiped off the map of her mind… which is why I took a photo. 🙂

I have all but completed my memoir on Mum, called Mum’s Dance. I am now editing it.

The first few paragraphs of the book are being published in the next issue of Geez.

This summer Save My Children will be published by Castle Quay Books. I am still waiting to hear about Canvas Child.

Trent and I celebrated our five-year anniversary pre-emtively; the theatre prices were cheaper in June, so we snagged a lovely Bed and Breakfast climbing with wild flowers and watched ‘Taming of the Shrew’ in nearby Stratford. It was both marvelous and romantic. Upon leaving I found myself very sad, kind of how one feels once Christmas is over.

But if I’ve learned one thing, change is necessary in order for better things to come along. Which is why I decided to expand my own flower beds when I returned home in order to make my home more akin to the Bed and Breakfast. 🙂

Canada Day:

Anniversary: