The Recovering Farmer

Thursday, March 28, 2013

What’s Up With That

I realize it has been awhile since I "posted". Perhaps I have not had the inspiration I needed. As you well know that might be because of the weather. I WANT SPRING. I would love to hear feed back on what I have written below. Make a comment. I dare you too.

In the past I have threatened to but never dared go there. I have talked about it but, perhaps, was afraid to. It shaped my life, rightly or wrongly, but shaped it nonetheless. At some point I knew I would have to talk about it. In essence, what I would like to talk about has a certain importance to all of us. Perhaps this may end up with a conclusion, but don’t hold your breath. After all, what I do need to talk about is something that I have no final thoughts on. Rather it comes from someone who is still searching. And maybe that is a good thing. Find out for yourself.

There is the ongoing debate on Bill 18. I tried to ignore it, but couldn’t. I found myself getting upset. What is it with the sanctimonious, self-righteous attitude I am sensing? It does not feel right. Are we not tolerant? Are we not accepting? How does a gay/straight alliance infringe on my religious freedom? What is wrong with this picture? My confusion deepened. I wanted answers.

When I got home I found the latest publication from the church denomination I used to belong to. In it was a letter from a church that I used to be a member of. Expressing outrage. Anger, even, regarding an ongoing discussion on creation. Am I to believe that my belief in a higher being is based solely on whether the earth was created in 7 days? Does science not teach us anything? Some time ago I mentioned that this debate was creating humor in my life. Now I find myself getting upset. Really? Along with all the other rhetoric out there I am left to wonder.

Today I read an article in the Free Press about pastors in North Dakota lobbying the government to allow concealed guns in churches. They are afraid that ner-do-wells (read evil doers) will target churches. The pastor behind the petition stated that "The whole idea of a gun-free zone is inherently dangerous,". Really? I hope that no one becomes too consumed with the spirit. They might start firing their guns. Or in their haste to become judgemental they might shoot the parishioner sitting next to them. Is this the kind of society we live in? We need to carry concealed weapons? To church? Notice my cynicism?

It is downright difficult to establish any type of spirituality in this messed up world. Just over a year ago I thought I had it figured out. Then some amazing things happened which made me wonder again. House purchases that worked out better than anyone could have expected. Health issues being dealt with in positive ways. New birth. New beginnings. Then while expecting certain comments from people who might believe this stuff, getting them from people who you least expect it from.

Read some time ago that “religion is for those that are afraid of going to hell. Spirituality is for those who have been there”. Interesting comment. I meet people who have and are experiencing personal tragedy, trying to find their way. I suspect it is these types that are sending me positive vibes about a higher being. Divine intervention. People who, and I count myself one of them, would suggest they have had a taste of hell. Through health challenges, both mental and physical. People whose lives have inexplicitly changed forever, due to traumatic and catastrophic events in their lives. Perhaps it is these people that can continue to show me the way as I keep searching. They seem to be the ones that really believe. Make it a good one.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

How About That

For the first time in a long time I am on the road. I mean literally. Since our move to La Salle this is somewhat outside the norm for me. Here it is Wednesday and I am sitting in a hotel in Dauphin. Like I say, it’s been a while. I remember when my wife, watching me pack my suitcase, made the comment that it had been awhile since she missed me. I think it must be my charming personality.

I have decided to go out on a limb. Ordered pizza. Delivered. Wow, living on the edge. Not only that, I ordered double cheese. Was tempted to order that one that has a wiener in the crust but resisted. Not sure I could handle that. Although tempted. My heart starts palpitating just thinking about it. Maybe next time. Not likely.

As the week goes on I find myself checking the weather more than I ever have. It appears that winter is here to stay. By the end of this week there is another heavy snowfall warning for western Manitoba. What’s up with that. No thaw in sight. One of these days it will start and then we may be in for another problem. Do I dare say the F word? I mean flood. Although there are some other F words that come to mind. I have to remember there is nothing I can do about the weather. Out of my control.

Some good news this week. My left handed friend had his semi-annual MRI and has been reassured that the cancer has not returned. Awesome. Because of a run in with a snowblower he has some work left to get back in golfing shape but that will come. Now that he can rest easy, as a result of the MRI, a positive mindset will help him get back to thinking golf, get back to getting better. As well the house buying debacle has ended on a positive note. The kids got the house. Someone suggested this week that there must have been divine intervention. Who am I to argue. Things worked out really well for them. Good stuff.

This morning we went to give them a hand with moving. It was cold. Darn cold. My daughter-in-law took one look at me and emphatically stated that I was not dressed for moving. Leather jacket and loafers. Loafers? Been awhile since I heard that one. My reward for being under dressed? I got to look after my grandson. Remind me to wear loafers again. The little guy has this ability to let me forget about all the cares and worries out there. Almost, and I repeat, almost makes me forget about the relentless winter. I don’t think he cares. I don’t think he knows. Someday, god willing, he will be an avid golfer and will watch the weather the same way I do.

With some of the discussions I have been involved in over the last year; divine intervention may be something I should be seeking regarding this ongoing debacle called winter. Just checked the forecast. Snow storm warning in effect. Okay. I really do need help. So what happens now? I know of one person who is hoping the snow sticks around because he needs some time to get other issues dealt with before he can golf. So if he is praying for this weather to stay and I am praying for nicer weather we can’t both get what we want. Quite a conundrum. Perhaps I need to change my prayer and seek divine intervention for my friend to be able to experience healing sooner rather than later. That may work. Make it a good one.

Friday, March 8, 2013

The Big Unknown

I am sure that by now you know that I will have a rant about the weather. After all it is the beginning of March and there does not seem to be any let up in sight. Winter is here to stay. Okay, granted, the temperatures have gone up some. Notice I did not say have warmed up. I just checked the records for this date and it tells me that the warmest day on record is plus 16. Plus 16? Hardly that today. In fact there is snow falling. Miami, and I am not talking Florida, got 56 centimeters of snow on Monday. 56 cms. That is somewhere north of 20 inches. Sorry, that shows my age. I can relate to inches but not centimeters.

As I had written previously I had a commitment from one of my golf friends that we would be golfing by March 29. Me thinks not. We will be lucky if we are golfing by April 29. Okay, in the spirit of trying to be objective, I am not. I keep looking out the window and seeing this beautiful winter vista. Beautiful, if in fact it was Christmas. It’s not. It’s March. Then I hear on radio that March is when Manitoba receives the most precipitation. That is not helpful. Perhaps I can go with the fact that March comes in like a lion and leaves like a lamb. What else can I base any hope on? Hope that this will change.

I know. Weather is completely out of my control. As such I need to put aside any anxiety connected to this ongoing debacle called winter. And I have. But the waiting game can be stressful. It seems that we spend so much time waiting for answers. Our kids were working on buying a house this week. So they put in an offer and then have to wait to hear whether it has been accepted. Then they need to finalize financing and so they wait again. The deadline approaches and the answer is not forthcoming. Then finally the waiting is over. My friend, the left hander, is waiting for the results of medical tests. Although the doctors always are positive, negative thoughts can and do take over. It becomes debilitating.

It is the big unknown. We are looking for positive answers. But when there are unknowns we have this unique ability to conjure up the most negative scenarios. And as we wait, as we lie awake at nights worrying, as we robotically go about our daily lives, those negative thoughts mushroom and before we realize it we are convinced that the news we are waiting for will be bad, and as funny as it sounds, even worse than a worst case scenario. It is so difficult to imagine good news. And as the stress of waiting draws out longer and longer our mental anguish can become a crisis. The point where our lives change. The point where we are convinced that life can never be the same.

There is relief. Quite often when we fall into this state we also isolate ourselves. We withdraw. We have this notion that nobody would understand. Nobody cares. That is not the case. It is important during these crises in our lives to reach out. Find someone to talk to. Find your supports. Talking helps. Even if the other person cannot provide answers, even if they just normalize and validate your feelings, it helps to verbalize the anxiety happening within. Also remember that mindfulness works. Find your happy place. Make it a good one.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Accidents Do Happen

Over the course of the last two years I have heard various stories from people who have had motor vehicle accidents. Notice the official term? Motor vehicle accident. Used to be called fender benders. I often wondered how so many people were experiencing these mishaps. Sometimes it is a slight lapse in judgement. Remember the bus from a few weeks ago? Other times it may be someone else’s mistake. And don’t get me wrong. They can be serious. They can be catastrophic. And they can be life changing.

At one point this week, as I was navigating traffic in Winnipeg, I made a comment about some of the drivers. My son was quick to point out that this was still better than Brandon. Okay, not to diss anyone from Brandon, let me explain. I used to commiserate about traffic in that fine city. I suspect I have written about it previously. My complaint being it is slow. In all lanes, going in both directions. You do not get anywhere in a hurry. I actually had a conversation with a Brandon city police officer. They were in complete agreement. Brandon traffic is slow. In Winnipeg nobody moves slowly. It is as if all of us are running late. Going in all directions. Quite often in the mornings I will see people driving in rush hour traffic with frost all over their windows. One small circle cleared through which they may or may not see things happening in front of them. But it does not slow them down. Everybody seems to think they have to get there first.

I did get into an accident this week. Okay, let me rephrase that. I did not get into an accident. Someone hit me. Still not clear how it happened. Perhaps it’s the trauma. Temporary loss of memory. I have heard of that happening. Or it might have been the fact that, as typical mornings go, I was zoned out. Thinking of the day ahead. Looking forward to my Tim Horton’s. All I remember is that without warning, it happened. Not sure whether I heard the crunch first or felt the hit. Again, in situations like that details become fuzzy. The life I never had flashed before my eyes.

Some time ago I was challenged by a colleague to view rush hour traffic as being a dance. When someone cuts in front of you, means you have a new partner. Obviously, as a good Mennonite, this creates issues for me. Dancing and changing partners? I won’t go there because most of you would question the “good Mennonite” part. What I have learned is that whether I drive aggressively or take the relaxed approach I get to my destination in the same time. And if I am relaxed about it the rest of my day goes much better.

Back to my accident. After the initial shock wore off I realized that I would survive. It could have been worse. Much worse. You see, I was in a line up at a Tim Horton’s drive through when it happened. No damage to the vehicle aside from the salt and grime covering my car. I suppose you could call that slow dancing. Not sure I enjoyed that but it did make me chuckle. Particularly the response of the other driver. I can well imagine how sheepish I would feel if I had been that driver. Oh well. Accidents do happen. Someone suggested this morning that we should practice peaceful driving. That means giving yourself enough time to get there on time. Makes sense to me. Make it a good one.