Wednesday, 21 September 2016


It is a disorienting experience to see all of your worldlies boxed up and piled into a couple of transport cubes. It is even more disorienting to realize that you will be homeless for three weeks, having to vacate your home of ten years before you are actually leaving the city for your new digs thousands of kilometres away. But that's what happens when you up sticks.

Of course we haven't actually been homeless. Family rises to the occasion in times like this and my in-laws offered to host while Glen and I were in limbo. Overall the experience has been good. Barb and Ralph are very caring people, wanting to make sure that Barb's firstborn and his mate are looked after. Sometimes they care too much, wanting to be sure I eat, even if it means needing to wolf down because I am still working and have commitments.

That experience highlights an interesting dynamic, that is how rooted we all are in how we do things. Glen and I have our habits, and Barb and Ralph have theirs. One of those habits is having supper promptly at 6 even if your son-in-law needs to be downtown half an hour later, and insisting he has something to eat because he needs to stay healthy. It's sweet and frustrating at the same time. They are very tidy people. Which initially meant having to hunt for my sandals because they'd been whisked out of site. I eventually figured out where they were. Further, they aren't used to having a dog around which meant the sudden appearance of air fresheners in our temporary bedroom and the family room where Finley spends most of his time. And yet they have mentioned more than once how well-behaved he is. I chalk it up to their wanting to reassure us that Finley is welcome despite their not being used to having a four-legged housemate.

One of the interesting things about living in a new location temporarily is that I had to find a new commuting route. I was used to traveling to St. Albert just on city roads but now I head to work partly on the highway. My first time doing so I giggled to myself. "I guess this will help me get used to my new reality in Ontario."

That experience made me realize that these weeks have been a gift. I am reminded that I will have to get used to more than just a highway commute. I have my ministerial habits. Richmond Hill United Church has its own ethos and culture, just as St. Albert United does. Like my in-laws with their eating times, tidiness and unfamiliarity living with a dog, the good folks at RHUC will have their patterns and habits, their comforts and uncertainties. I in turn have mine. We will need to learn about each other, to accommodate each other and grow to appreciate each other's habits and perspectives.
This time with my in-laws has at times tested my patience. I have definitely tested theirs. When we test each other's patience at RHUC, I will draw on the memories of these weeks and recall how they were always wrapped in love.

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