About Me

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I now live in Victoria, after a couple years on the North Shore of Vancouver, and a (too) brief time in the prairies. Working as an artist, mother and wife (not necessarily in that order), i am striving to live well, to find the truth of God in all things, and to pass on this truth to others.

Monday, January 21, 2013

cold, dirt and doubt

it's cold.  exceedingly. 
on sunday, driving home from church, i was close to tears.  we literally live a one minute drive from the building, but i was wearing these stupid leather gloves (i think i'll name them my Wickham gloves, since they're such a disappointment, just like him)* and by the time i got into the house my fingers were burning with pain.  it's so interesting that intense cold burns - i mean, interesting in a "wow, you don't say" way, not a "let me try!" way.

i just finished a great novel by Louise Penny, and in it she describes being in minus thirty temperatures - the sting in your cheeks, the intense cold of your pants, the pain in your chest when you inhale, and the resulting cough.  yes, this is life this week in Saskatoon. 

after we got in the door yesterday, and i was silently instructing myself not to cry in front of the kids, i said "we are not leaving this house for the rest of the day".  and i meant it.  and we didn't.  plans for a dinner out were cancelled and we napped under down blankets and read books by the fire.  which is what makes this time of year beautiful in the prairies - whittling down life to the essentials.  you ask yourself "do i really need those groceries?  do i really need to go to that function? is that thing really imperative?" - and usually the answer's no!  so you turn the page in your novel and snuggle in deeper.  and what a novel it was!

here's one of my favourite bits:
"As his grandfather used to say, "You don't want to go into your head alone mon petit. It's a very scary place.....Beauvoir suddenly remembered the lesson he always hurried to forget.  [The captain] was the best of them, the smartest and bravest and strongest because he was willing to go into his own head alone, and open all the doors there, and enter all the dark rooms.  And make friends with what he found there."

I think this is what the dirty thirties are all about for us humans - the decade of opening doors.  coming to terms with the worst of ourselves, recognizing our motives and influences, picking apart our knee-jerk reactions, slowly and painfully peeling off the bandages of denial, anger and ignorance.  it's dirty work.  but worth it.

yesterday my eight-year-old daughter asked me the big what if question - "what if you find out God isn't real?  will you be angry?"  i was standing at the kitchen sink, and the gravity of the question was felt.  the door of doubt.
i answered "i'll be very surprised, and disappointed.  but i don't think angry.  because following Jesus has given me an awesome life.  i believe that living the way He wants me to is the best way to live.  so, it's worth it.  even if i find out He's not real, it's worth it."

i feel like i've been waiting for someone to ask me that question for a while now.  it's one i ask myself often, every time the dark door cracks open.  "what if?" and "is it worth it?".  i want my daughter to know that being a Christ-follower is about more than just a ticket to heaven after death, way more.  it's about access to life.  i also want her to know that doubt is a part of faith, and that asking this question is important.

well, this is a meandering post.  what will i call it? 
i hope that your tomorrow is warm, that you find healing for your dark places, and answers for the tough questions.  i will leave you with another quote from my book- a bit of poetry. Shalom.

               Here it is then, the dark thing,
               the dark thing you have waited for so long.
              And after all, it is nothing new.

*if you have never read/seen pride and prejudice, now's the time.


  1. I've only ever been there in the summer and I didn't even realize you had a fireplace! Sounds like a wonderful Sunday!!!!

    1. feel free to come visit is you want to try it out!

  2. Madeleine L'Engle wrote in Walking on Water, "I had yet to learn the faithfulness of doubt. This is often assumed by the judgemental to be faithlessness, but it is not; it is a prerequisite for a living faith."

    A good question and you gave a good answer Janet... Also, I'm glad you are learning how to live in this 'environment.' After all, the cold can send you to the depths of despair but you have found a sanctuary of warmth and words within it... Perhaps something like this happens when a 'God-light' shatters our doubt with hope...