27th September Thursday 7:58am -4 degrees 3 bros falls
Arrived at the River before sunset exhausted physically and emotionally.
Slept with our clothes on in the tent. Morning frost makes me happy we harvested the tomatoes last week.
My week off had a 3 day bite into it. I’d chose to stay and help Lynn with the Labyrinth she was making on the front lawn of the church. She really only needed moral support. I was her gopher – doing very little actual digging. I left that hard work to the women. Good strong women like Helena and Ina and Pat Remy and Gloria. The kind of women at the heart of every church.
I tried to treat those 3 days like days off – doing what I wanted at the pace that came naturally instead of rushing from thing to thing. I skipped the Fall Feast planning meeting and instead visited a friend recovering from burnout. Tuesday, I couldn’t really skip the first Council meeting. I’d arranged a catered meal for their welcome back. It was a luxury perhaps but a small thank you for the thankless work and tough decisions they’ll need to make this fall.
Wednesday, I could only handle about 20 minutes of the public meeting on Social Assistance cutbacks. It makes me so angry that 50 people show up to fight the cynical Provincial cutbacks to the poorest Ontarians. The same day the news was reporting that 50,000 had taken to the streets to protest Spain’s austerity measures. Will we wait until it’s too late – until we too have slid into the clutches of the World Bank? The meeting left me feeling both sick to my stomach and hungry.
In fact I felt ill most of the day. Might have had something to do with the six cups of coffee over breakfast with Evangelical ministers breaking out of their theological boxes. I got to try to shock them with my take on Jesus, Noah, and our era’s revelation of a multi=faith universal redemption.Great conversation peppered with laughs.
Did a couple of runs to Bill and Marilyn Gilbert’s farm on the edge of Peterborough. Developers had shredded the brush off a neighbouring field into a mountain of mulch. I love how I could do a round trip from the downtown church to the edge of town, load up a trailer of mulch, and be back again in 30 minutes. Small city living.
Had an afternoon tea with my new buddy Paul. He’s a professed non-believer and more interested in soul questions than your average minister. He’s also – for some mysterious reason - got the church transformation bug. Together we hack and chip away at our assumptions and try to carve out words that might capture the common ground between our secular and sacred values.
Like a verbal game of squash we whack away at the ball of human purpose and pain, trying to figure out the rules to a new game. It’s a game that those disabled by their experience with, or fear of, religion can play. We’re a couple of left brain guys talking about leaping the chasm into a right brain exploration of important, essential, urgent questions.
Today I make chili sauce. Today I’ve got ten thousand words to write, ten phone calls to make, ten weeks of Sundays to plan, ten task on my overdue list crying for attention. But today, with an act of will I put up a wall against the tide of guilt, against the need to be needed, against the should and woulds and coulds. Today, I’m gonna bottle the summer.
I’m gonna chop up enough peppers to feed the world’s hungry. I’m gonna peel and cut onions ‘til I cry a river of sorrow for yesterday, today and tomorrow’s generations of hurting children. I’m gonna squash enough tomatoes to be the blood, sweat, and tears needed to feed our greedy insecurities. I’ll add enough chilies and jalapenos to wake up all the delusional war-mongers and make them sweat out the painful price of their profits. And I’ll cook it all up on a long slow simmer til the kin-dom comes knocking at my door.
On long winter nights and days too short to bring about the change planted in every open heart, I’ll open up a jar and put it on my eggs and remember the long days of sun when everything was green and growing and it seemed like Eden’s garden was underfoot. I’ll slather the taste of sun’s abundant sauce on the lunch I take so I can cram in back to back meetings. I’ll put it my jars on the pot luck table where friends and enemies and strange ones come all with the same hunger. We’ll put all our different dishes on the round table and in the sharing taste the possibilities of next summer’s hopes.
Today is Sabbath. In the midst of too much, I’ll trust in the hunger of an empty day.