lyef & thymes

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Two weeks to the Day.

Two weeks from today I will load my stuff into my car and head West. I am looking forward to it. A lot of things have to happen in the next two weeks.

I have to go to Nova Scotia to see my family there. It's been awhile, and since I am leaving the Maritimes, it might be awhile again. So that is a must.
I have to go fishing. The season is practically over, but there is no salt-water fishing in Southern Ontario.

I have to drink coffee with about 15 different people, and take the time to say goodbye to each of them individually.
I need to move out of my apartment, and onto a friend's couch, by this Friday. Oh man it's getting crazy now.

Please, friends, pray for me. I am facing a tough fourteen days.
Soon it will all change, and I can get back to blogging about interesting things again.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

A new venture begins!

My super good friend Jeremy has started a network of blogs and bloggers, and has invited me to be a part of it. I said "Yes Please".

I write for three more blogs, one on Literature, one on Movies, and one on Sports. I am greatly enjoying it, as every morning I awake and know that I get to sit and think, and write, and that in some way it is helpful to me and a great deal of others who have invested time and money into making this thing work.

The links are on the side bar, and I recommend that you check them out.

The B5 Media link has more links to all the blogs on the network, so you can see if any are interesting to you.

Check 'em out, and tell me what you think.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

A Bit Ambitious

I have decided in my heart that I will be moving back to Toronto. I have acknowledged with my mouth, to many friends and colleagues, both in St. Stephen and in Ontario, that I am moving. I am trying to make the best of my last month in St. Stephen, but I think that my decision to stay for a whole month was a BIT ambitious.

I am trusting God, and believe that he is in charge here, guiding my decisions. But it seems that sometimes when God is guiding your steps they lead you through some challenging places.

The thing is, I could have said all of my goodbyes in a week, and kinda did. But now I have three more weeks and I don't know what to do with myself. It's not really bad, like the people here are suddenly against me. These are my very close friends. They've been my family for the past two years. I would take a bullet for some of these folks, and I know they would do the same for me.

So I have time. Time to hang out, and I intend to make the best of it. But overshadowing the hanging out is the knowledge that our time for doing so is short. That's the hard part I suppose. I guess I wasn't prepared for how difficult it would be to say goodbye to these guys.

Jer, Shannon, Evan and Alex, Holli, Zoe, Dan, Pete, Walt, Eric, Isaac, Steph, Larissa, Zach, Chrissy. So many friends who have been so important to me, who I have been priveleged to be nearby in community.

And then I think of my friends in T.O. who I have to wait three more weeks before I see once again, and begin to commune with them for the first time in awhile, like Steve, Tom, Kev, Michael, Mike, Dunc, Andrew, Mel, Bee, Beth, Jon and Maija, and a few new friends too like Noel, who I barely know, but hope to know better.

In some ways it's like enjoying the last slice of a very very tasty cake, knowing that it's the last piece, and somewhere inside I don't want to eat that last bite. All the while knowing that there is another, very different type of cake in the fridge for the next celebration.

Okay, that analogy was super weak. I'm tempted to delete it, but I'm leaving it so that you can see that I am really thrown off my game here.

Know this! I care a great deal about the people here, and am sad to leave them. Simultaneously I care a great deal about the folks in my future home, and can't wait to see them. So I am strongly tempted to rush things, and am fighting fighting fighting to keep at the original game plan. I decided what to do when I was not experiencing these pressures, somewhat freer from stresses to leave now. So that's what I will do.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

The More Things Change

An extremely pessimistic 16 year old Jacob would have told you that the only constant in the world is change. What I find interesting is that I assumed that the way I felt about change would never change. But it has.

I have been moving around alot in my lifetime. I moved to Toronto at age 11, then back to the Maritimes to attend University at age 20, then back to Toronto at 23, then back to the Maritimes at 24. Now I am 26 and I will be moving back to Toronto again.

In some ways this can mess a guy up. The constant uprooting has been hard on the part of me that desires to have deep roots. But in the last two years of living in St. Stephen, New Brunswick, God has given me some amazing mentors and friends who have encouraged me to let my roots grow.

So now I have some roots, it's time to leave the greenhouse and get planted. That means even more change. I am going to move back to Toronto, and if all goes well I will be able to put these roots down there. I love the city, and love the people in it very much. I marvelled as I stood on Yonge street and watched people walking to and fro. They mostly had sunglasses on, and many spoke into cell-phones. They seemed to be embracing two very old ideas:

"No man is an Island unto himself"- John Donne
"The mass of men live lives of quiet desperation"-Henry David Thorough

As people stood at an intersection on the sidewalk, literally inches from another person, they tried desperately to seperate themselves from each other, as though they could actually exist as islands unto themselves, if they tried really hard. But as a result they found themselves in a state of quiet desperation, trying not to let each other know about their problems.

Here's why this is relevant. I have been living in a place where the key strength in the character of the people who live here is that they love and help each other in anyway that they can. As a result of this tendency toward love, there is an increased sense of safety and security in being vulnerable about areas of weakness (desperation).

It seems that the one thing the people in Toronto need (in my own limitted view) is the one thing that I have been learning how to do, which is connect with others, live in community with each other, and be genuine about things that are lacking.

Think about it: On a mountain expedition to the top of Everest, one of the climbers breaks his toe. As a result he/she cannot walk propperly, and a bit of a limp develops. Not wanting to say anything about the awkward appearance of the limp, the other climbers remain silent. Eventually the injured climber stubbornly collapses and falls off the mountain, along with whatever key supplies were in their pack. The whole team suffers because no-one, injured or otherwise, spoke up about the situation and maybe offered to help.

We have things to offer each other that no one knows about. No one knows about the help I can offer because I don't want to risk offending someone by offering the help in the first place, and they surely don't want to ask.

At SSU I have learned how to ask for help when I need it, offer help when it is needed, and seek out community with others so that I may know what strengths and weaknesses are present in my sphere of influence. I look forward to putting this to practice with some of my friends in Toronto, some of whom I know, and others whom I have yet to meet. You may be one of them, who knows!

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

The fine art of shadow casting

Today I write from a cafe in Toronto, where the wireless internet flows fast and free. I have been in the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) for a little over a week now, and have a few more days to go before returning to St. Stephen. It has been a very amazing time here, and the full implications of that amazingness have not yet been revealed to me.

In my Southern Ontario swing thus far I have renewed my friendship with some old friends, made new friends, and continued enjoying the company of those with whom I had not ceased to be friends.

Also along the way I attended a Youth Summer Camp, as a Counsellor. That was a tremendous experience to say the least. I saw some kids who had no reason in their hearts to believe that God was real, or that he loved them, become completely transformed by the week's end. Today they have gone back to high school and have had to come to grips with the fact that God is real, loves them very much, and also loves their friends and family very much (who may have a hard time accepting the new world-view that has been adopted).

So in my last post I commented on how my life was linked to a particular tree in my Grandfather's yard. Well, to carry on the metaphor just a little longer, the tree is pretty much stationary, but as the sun moves across the sky the shadow moves along the ground, first very long to the west, then shorter, shorter still, then very long to the east, then it ceases to exist as the sun sets and all shadows become one.

Then at the prescribed time, decided by the earth's axis, and speed of rotation, the sun rises again, causing the tree to cast a long shadow to the west.
I think the metaphor is limitted in that I often choose where and when I cast a shadow on people and places in this life. But I cast no shadow whatsoever without the sun shining in the sky. And as we know, the sun shines on the wicked and the just alike, so I make no claims as though I cast a shadow and others do not. We all do.

But there is a secret that I am learning, and that is the fine art of shadow casting. Maneouvering one's body and limbs in just the right way, at just the right time, one can cast a shadow of a shape, or symbol, or figure that could mean something to someone. In my time back in Toronto I have learned that I have cast many an interesting shadow here, and that people remember the shapes I have made.

It's humbling, but it's also amazing.
What kind of shadow are you casting? Are you providing shade for those who have been worn out by life? Or are you blocking out the sun for those who desperately seek its rays?