Friday, January 17, 2014

This Is Me... On Drugs

This is our drug cupboard, and you don’t see the containers behind those! 

I consider myself a fairly healthy mid-fifties woman, who nevertheless relies on a daily regimen of drugs, both prescription and OTC to stay that way. Each morning I portion out the pills: three different ones for my aching joints, one to keep my underactive thyroid working better, one to control migraines, a magnesium tablet and a multi-vitamin.

Most mornings I do it without thinking too much, I do it in a particular order so that I don’t double dip or forget one. Periodically though, as I look at the handful of pills, I get depressed at the betrayal of my body. And then I can start to lay blame. If only I looked after myself better, if only I exercised more, if I lost some more weight. If only, if only, if only. Most women I know can identify with the love/hate relationship we have with our bodies. Yesterday, as I picked up another prescription at the drug store was one of those days. However, the latest one is only for 5 days!

On my good days, which are most of my days, I am thankful that I live in a time when drugs are available, that I have a drug plan that pays for 80% of them. I thankful that I live in a time when a bacterial infection can be cleared up in a matter of a week or so. I am thankful that my daily medications enable me to go about most of my days with energy and comfort. Yes, I would rather not have to take medication, but without it, my life would be constrained and restricted. 

I am thankful that this mid-fifties, imperfect and flawed body has also completed two 10k walks and raised $3000 for the work of the United Church by participating in the Bluenose Marathon. I am thankful that I can belly dance with my 18 year old granddaughter on a regular basis and have performed in a number of shows, I am thankful that I can walk regularly, at least in good weather. I am thankful that I can enjoy a night out with my husband. And I am thankful that I can keep up with my 4 year granddaughter, at least for a couple of hours.  

So this is me, on drugs. 

And that’s my window on God's world. 

Friday, January 3, 2014

Reflected Love

This ‘Christmas’ cactus sits on a table tucked into the bay window in my study. Of course it blooms when it wants to, which is not necessarily at Christmastime. The cactus was given to me by two friends as a housewarming present when I moved back to Nova Scotia from Ontario. 

Both of these women were part of my formal discernment process as I explored a call to ordained ministry; through that process we became close friends and kept in touch throughout my years of study and when I moved to Ontario to begin my first appointment as a minister, 1800 kilometers from all that was familiar, both of them came to visit that first summer, although not together. 

One of them died a little over a year ago and every time I look at the cactus I am reminded of her. Sheila was of a woman of deep faith, although like many of Scottish background, reserved about it except with people she knew well. Like the cactus, Sheila could seem to be prickly at times, but those of us who knew her well, knew that her prickliness covered a heart of great tenderness and generosity. If you look closely at the picture, you see a blossom reflected in the glass table top. Sheila reflected love and faithfulness combined with practicality. 

I don’t know if Sheila knew how much of an impact she had on my ministry. When I presided at my first funeral, while still a student and feeling ill-equipped, she gave me a button to put in the pocket of my alb as a reminder that there were others who thought I was very equipped. I found out later that it was a button from a dress that Sheila’s mother had been making for her when she died. The dress was never finished, but Sheila had kept it all the years since, knowing that love was stitched into the very seams. She wanted me to have a tangible reminder of her love to carry me that day. Little did she know that I would carry that button in the pocket of my alb for years, always a touchstone for me, particularly when I felt inadequate or for difficult funerals. 

The button is on the table with the cactus right now, by chance, perfectly lined up between the blossom and its reflection. In fact, the reflection is clearer than the blossom in the picture. Isn't that often true, we don't see our own beauty and truth clearly until it is reflected back to us by someone who knows and loves us? Beauty and practicality, love reflected in ways unimaginable, that was my friend Sheila. I miss her. 

And that's my window on God's world.