Journal #9

                November 18, 2009: What a glorious day to be driving home on my 42nd birthday. Even though I have not stopped for the last 7 days, I woke up before my alarm clock. Gary always tells me I do not need an alarm clock, because I always get up before it rings. Last night was the Kingston Presbytery meeting which took place at Elgin United. This is one of the churches that I am serving and I could not have asked for a better Birthday kick off then this.

                At about 2:30 p.m. on the 17th, we watched a great DVD entitled, the Front Runners. It was a documentary on residential schools, specifically in Winnipeg, Manitoba. It was narrated by one of the survivors himself. It cannot get any more real than that. We discussed how we felt watching this DVD and how can we apply what we saw to our lives in the present time. The group of attendees was not a large one, we were about 10, but the response that we all had was powerful. We echoed almost unanimously on the point of how money, power and control are misused for personal gain. It is also unfortunate how these personal desires also become a communal hunger. Often it is also done in the name of Christ just like it has been done throughout history of the Church. The ghosts of the past are still reality today. This is not just a reality within the First Nations, but also to all of humanity. At the end of the discussion, we all agreed to ponder upon how we can make a difference, as an individual, as a congregant, as the United Church of Canada and as a global church of Christ.

                At about 5:30, we had a great supper prepared for us. I also experienced the sale of the most expensive shepherd’s pies ever. The money of the sale was going to the expenses of the sound system at the church, which is so important. There were two trays left and each one was sold for $65.00 and the other for $60.00. Our chef was also the amazing auctioneer – I never knew how talented he is.

                After supper, we started the Presbytery meeting with worship, where the chair of the council welcomed everyone, shared information about the church with the outreach programs, and also introduced me as the intern minister, after which, I sang my two all time favourite songs in Armenian, “How Great Thou Art” and “It is well with My Soul”. These will always be at the top of my favourite hymns list I suppose, as they truly remind me that all through life I have experienced how great God is therefore, I can echo and confidently say, “Whatever comes my way, it is also well with my soul “.

                For a change, the meeting actually finished on time, even though we were running a little late on a few points of the agenda. I arrived home and finalized packing and for some reason, my left knee was hurting. I guess, I twisted it somehow and did not really feel it with all the excitement and the busy agenda. I think, I twisted my leg when I passed by a microphone, instead of lifting the microphone with the stand and removing it, I tried to squeeze by and twisted my knee. Sometimes I do not get myself, I do not want to disturb anyone or anything, not even a speck of dust. This pain became more apparent to me in the morning. Tears were beginning to come down. But I did not tell a soul and started to head out to Montreal early in the morning.

                It was still dark at about 6:45 a.m. on November 18, when I loaded the car and headed to Montreal. As I started approaching Athens, the daybreak started to be obvious and the red fiery sunrise started to be prominent. By the time I arrived in Brockville, it was full daylight. The fog which was beginning to dissipate on the way from Portland was still covering Hwy. 401. So, I ran into patches of fog that made the drive difficult at some points. It was still a beautiful scene to be part of. The fog was lifting up like a blanket unveiling the beauty of God’s Love. The journey seemed longer than usual, either I was anxious to get home and see Gary, Maya, Mom, Dad and my sister, or it was the left knee reminding me of the twist and the pain was becoming excruciating.

                I made it to Laval, went and picked up Gary, after saying hello to Maya, Mom and Dad and went to meet a friend for breakfast. Gary and I drove to the restaurant and she was already there. I was walking slowly, but I was walking. I was determined not to allow this pain to cancel my breakfast date. (If you ever want to get me out of bed on time, promise me breakfast and I will get up). For some reason breakfast is my favourite meal of the day. Often I wonder why, but I still do not have an answer.

                I was planning to go down to UTC, as Wednesdays’ are the noon time worship service, and be with my sisters and brothers in Christ, but I had to listen to my body, stay home and rest. After being spoiled rotten by my friend with breakfast treats and beautiful gifts, I came home, read, lied down and took it easy for the rest of the day.

                In the evening, my sister arrived and joined us for supper that Mom and Dad so graciously ordered for all of us and surprised me with a heart shaped, strawberry shortcake. What a treat! They had actually ordered it from the baker who had made our wedding cake. They truly know how to spoil their “daughter”. What a blessing to have them with us.

                I remember when they were moving in with us in 2005, many people warned me not to bring my in-laws in our home. I am glad that God’s Spirit pushed into our hearts and had Mom & Dad join us. Their presence has been nothing but a blessing. I think, this is what Jesus’ life demonstrated to us. To do the opposite of what the world tells us (do not get me wrong, I do not mean to go against regulations). To do what is filled with compassion and grace. To tip the scales of justice and bring forth, Reliability, Sacrifice, Compassion, Justice and Joy. We often forget to get out of our comfort zone to make room for others. I am glad that Gary and I were attentive to God’s Spirit and insisted Mom & Dad to join us.

                What more can I say about a wonderful birthday, except that God’s grace is sufficient for me once again. Here is a quotation from a poem that I had written in 2007, on my fortieth birthday and these words still echo in my heart and the joy of serving God only gets stronger:

                “… And now Oh God, I celebrate your Grace with gratitude

Not just for the forty years that you have demonstrated your steadfast love to me

but for Your Amazing Grace that promises to sustain me indefinitely –

I celebrate YOUR Grace oh God.” Amen.

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