Ridiculously Rich

Dear Readers, the following was written late last night:

Today was an oddly busy day. It began with a funeral for a colleagues’ mother, which was, as they are wont to be, a polygamy of memory, re-connection, rejoicing, mourning and more. The afternoon found me at a three hour “Bridging Communities through Song” concert held at a local church, but brought to us by the Indigenous singing group Mino Ode Kwewak N’gamowak (Good Hearted Women) Singers and the Waterloo Regional Male Chorus along with friends. This event is in its third year, and aims to build bridges across divisions – of hostility and indifference; of race and class; of host and settler cultures. The event ended in a giant round-dance, with strangers and friends making their way around the church in increasing complicated circles of joy. It was followed up by a feast in which I had occasion to visit with a dear colleague, her daughter, and god-mother over a marvellous meal. Our table guests also included four other people previously unknown to me who were delightful dinner companions.

It is hard to process days like this and the ridiculous richness of emotions attending them. It was all there: from the pain of grief to the hope of reconciliation; from the horror at recollections of residential schools and the devastation following in their wake to the beauty of meeting new friends over good food and the warmth peculiar to a post-concert sigh; from the rush of running from A to B to the invitation to settle into a pew. What is one to do with so much – both old and new – in one day?

I came home and my wife and I decided upon a movie – a film set in the 1970’s called Remembrance. In this movie, a woman discovers that the man she loved – and thought dead – from her days in a WWII concentration camp is still alive. More emotions still! But with this movie, perhaps a lesson as well. As we debriefed the show we thought about how WWII survivors (from so many different kinds of prisons) spent the rest of their lives either unpacking their experiences or constantly packing them away. So much comes at us at times in life that it sometimes seems impossible to give our many experiences the deep, patient, reflective moments they need and deserve. Sometimes it seems we are unable, or perhaps unwilling, to ask what is going on in these moments. Where is God? Who have I become? What did this moment teach me about me, about life? Such moments, so very rich in possibility, call us to the discipline of reflection.

It is the season of Lent, and my discipline for this year is to write a little each day in my Moleskin with a new fountain pen. It is meant to be a practice of process; of intentionally looking at a day with an eye open for traces of divine tracks; looking for pathways that pattern how my life is being intercepted, and to what end. Today is one of those days that is going to result in a paucity, or perhaps plethora, of words in my daily record and oddly enough, either one of the two options seems fitting.

10 thoughts on “Ridiculously Rich

  1. shoreacres says:

    As ungrammatical and unpolished as this is, here is my exact thought upon reading your post:

    “Reflecting too soon often a way of imposing order on chaos, imposing meaning. Sometimes better to accept experiences, and let life itself reveal their meaning as time passes.”

    Days like you had are difficult to sort out — in the beginning, everything seems weighted equally, and any single event is a rich lode that could be mined for weeks. I think you’re right that “so much comes at us at times in life that it sometimes seems impossible to give our many experiences the deep, patient, reflective moments they need and deserve.” I’d go further, and say that it’s almost always impossible to give those experiences the reflection they deserve — at least consciously.

    Maybe it’s the difference between thinking about things, and taking Mary’s approach: “But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart.”

    • agjorgenson says:

      Thanks for this. I especially like your ” – at least consciously” at the end of the third paragraph. Sometimes these things just have to bubble in us for a time. The other thing that strikes me as I have thought more about this post, is the fact that many of us process things so very differently. Some need to talk, others need to be silent, some need to paint, others need to go for a run, etc. But maybe none of these are actually means of “sorting” but rather means of enduring. I’m not sure about this, but really just thinking out loud (or at least as loud as my computer keys!).

  2. Love this Al…spoken from the heart of a man with a passionate soul. Hugs your way…b

    • agjorgenson says:

      Thanks for the encouragement Sis! By the way, it looks like I’ll be out in Alberta in July. I’ve been asked to be a bible study leader at the ELCIC national convention in July. Hopefully we can get together then. Hi to your crew!

  3. jannatwrites says:

    Looking for traces of divine tracks – that’s a beautiful way to put it. That was a day full of varying emotions and it can be a lot to process. I like the idea of being mindful and really taking a look at the day we just lived so that we might see more of the beauty that we were too busy to take in in the moment.

  4. One of my fav posts here, A. Sorry for the funeral but “that’s life,” isn’t it? Love the polygamy of memory. And how you unpack the layers out of the movie in the struggles of vets. My son just met an amazing WWII vet in his 90s who gave our homeschool group a tour at an air museum. He (American) was taken as a German POW but was treated decently (given the situation) thanks to the Geneva Convention. But he said food had run out and he went down to 100 lbs. He is among the last of the survivors from that time. Beautiful, beautiful post.

  5. And I didn’t say it as a quip when I said that’s life. Though it may have sounded like it. It was a rumination.

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