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Finding a Beat

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For some odd reason, I like telling people that I don’t remember my twenties. But most people don’t ask me why.

My simple answer is I was deeply depressed. Normally there is an ebb and flow, but I was a flatliner, and  believe me it was the grace of God that I didn’t try to commit suicide. Yes, I did have thoughts, but never to the extreme and I don’t really have the answer as to what kept me off the ledge.

I think for anyone, and anyone who in their twenties, it’s the question that begs to be asked, ‘What am I to do with the rest of my life?’ Some of us are fortunate to find our place pretty quickly, a job, a spouse, children and a house. That wasn’t the case with me, and for a lot others. When I was 29, and fearing the 30’s, and not knowing what to expect, I had two people who came up to me at two different times and tell how much  they loved their 30’s. It almost gave me something to look forward to.

It was at this point, I was on medication, so I was able to experience what normal felt like, and it was like a cool breeze being blown lightly on the inside of my heart. My heart/ my soul was thirsty and lapping up what light it could. It didn’t look so dark on the inside of me. However, the thirties were still challenging for me, it wasn’t that I got off easy because in many ways that’s when more intense healing came into my life. I can see now that, it was because I could handle more, everything has its time and place, even though we might not agree with it at first.

It certainly didn’t happen overnight, and it come with a lot of growing pains, and not to mention some really confusing situations as to how was I to handle this circumstance(s)? There is no instruction book on how to be a responsible adult, except what your parents teach you, and even that sometimes doesn’t help you out. Heck, your parents didn’t get a instructions book on how best to raise you and your siblings.

A few weeks ago, I speaking with a woman whose daughter is in the middle of her twenties. I hadn’t seen her daughter all that much since June, and I wanted to know how she was doing. Her mother shrugged her shoulders, and admitted she didn’t really know how to read her daughter, but just that she was angry. Life doesn’t turn out the way you and I imagined it would when we dreamed about it.

Our dreams our cultivated in part by the environment that we are reared up in and the culture that surrounds us. Nothing is perfect or fair about it. We make choices and in the years ahead we start to see them play out. I’ve leaned through a lot of mis -takes and that your attitude factors into a lot  of what I have learned.

In the last five years of my thirties, wisdom has been showing itself in the little things. It doesn’t push it’s lessons on you, – no, that’s for you to determine – are you going to resist, or are you going to be open to leaving your heart wide open to Him. When the burdens inside of me become too heavy and I want to disappear. I remind myself that I’ve overcome so much, and that there’s so much to come. Invite Him in and let His word touch the edges that are frayed to be healed.

 

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2

Welcome to the Neighbourhood

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tumblr_n4vje69pJm1st5lhmo1_1280Ina and Clayton live in the same neighbourhood as my Mom, or at least they walk through

hers enough for her to start recognizing them. In the beginning, she would tell me when she saw Clayton and Ina.  Clayton usually did most of the talking and Ina didn’t say much. Slowly, she learnt through her numerous encounters with them that when Clayton was talkative, it meant that he wasn’t sober. Originally, they would ask my Mom for money, and she probably gave to them what she had, but after a while they stopped. I don’t know if it’s because she took the time to acknowledge them and asked what their names were and made an effort to let them know she saw them and got to know them

Community is a big thing for my Mom, even though at first, I’m not sure if she was convinced of this insight of mine. She makes an effort to know everyone who lives in her apartment building, and speaks to her neighbours to her right and to the left of her. She would probably go across the street and speak with the neighbours there, but unfortunately for her it’s a park.

Ever since I was a little girl, I would always hear my Mom say hi, or just respond to other people she saw in general, either on the street, in a store, or anywhere. It seemed that she knew everyone. She even warned me that she had “birdies” watching me, especially if I was doing something I wasn’t supposed to do, they would see me, and let her know what I was up to. Being a child, I took “birdies” literally, and believed she could talk to the birds that chirped in the trees and flew overhead in the sky. It turns out that the birds were really just neighbours on our street keeping an extra eye on me.

My sister has the same idea about community, except she’s put a new twist on hers, she’s a dog owner. I think she’s a community spreader just like our mom. She buys a coffee or tea at Tim Horton’s, and then she will buy two large coffees for the next two customers, and all she requests is that they do the same. Pass it forward. My sister and Mom are alike as they are always trying to help others and  becoming apart of other lives, by smiling, saying hello, giving out a grocery gift card to a single mom or handing out Easter eggs to the customers. It’s the little things where they try to squeeze in and make someone’s else’s life a bit more friendlier. Community is about the place you live in and the people you choose to involve in your life.

For most of my life, community always meant, the community centre, thus the building that is usually the focal point of the local neighbourhood, where dance classes, brownies and girl guides, or seasonal craft sales are held. The community centre where I grew up always reminded me of a church because it’s roof is shaped in a dome like structure, and inside the main hall it’s surrounded in stained glass windows. When the sun shined in, the stained glass acted like a sieve only allowing a certain amount of sunlight in.

My mom speaks about people whose names I can’t remember, or she knows two people who share the same name. It is annoying for me to remember just who is it she’s speaking about. She is about her community on a regular basis because of the nature of her job. Often, it begins as simple as an act of smiling at someone who passes by her, and if she sees this person repeatedly, before long she’s on  a first name basis. She’s curious and is filled to the brim with questions, and so she asks for people’s names to start. She’s not a extrovert by any means, but that doesn’t mean she can’t chat with those around her.

Community is also where you can share your faith.

If we are to share our lives with others and generously give of ourselves, we also have to realize that every person is worthy of our giving. Not for their physical appearance, abilities, their languages, their way of thinking, or for any satisfaction that we might receive, rather because they are God’s handiwork, his creation.  God created that person in his image, and he himself is present in his or her lives. Jesus offered his precious blood on the cross for that person. Appearances notwithstanding, every person is immensely holy and deserves our love. Consequently, if I can help at least one person to have a better life, that already justifies the offering of my life. It is a wonderful thing to be God’s faithful people. We achieve fulfillment when we break down walls and our heart is filled with faces and names! Pope Francis I Evangelli Gaudium, 274