Tuesday, May 27, 2008


The man behind me in the checkoutline has but one item, so even though I'm racing to meet a print deadline, I wave him to the front. He shuffles past the display of chocolate bars and bottles of fruit spritzers to the till, and drops a largely empty bag of quick oats on the scale. As I finish unloading my shopping cart, I hear him fumbling for change.

"Just add it to my bill," I tell the cashier, impatient.

The oat-buyer thanks me.

"Don't mention it," I say, and am vindicated to see the oats ring in at 25 cents, well worth the time saved.

He continues to express thanks, thanks that are out of proportion to my unsolicited generosity. For teh first time, I look at him rather than his purchase. I look at him, I don't comprehend, my stomach clenches. His arms are the diameter of his bones; beneath tightly stretched skin there is scant sign of flesh. Our eyes meet and he nods, perhaps he smiles. Cane and oats grasped in the same hand, he maneuvers his skeletal frame out othe door.

"That guy comes in every couple of days," the cashier says, interrupting my staring. "He buys a cupful or two of some staple food from our bulk bins. His tab rarely breaks a dollar."

I wish the oat-buyer's bag had been full. I wish he'd suddenly pulled out from behind his back a basket loaded with food for a week, a basket representative of all the food groups in the Canada's Foog Guide. I would invite him to put it all on my bill, who cares about the hurry I'm in, or the cost, this man urgently needs to eat, and eat more than oats.

A question from Michael Moore's latest movie, Sicko, echoes in my mind. What have we become, if, in one of the wealthiest socieities of all time, we are unable to show solidarity to those most in need? I don't know what ails this very conservative shopper. But I do know I can't feel good about my society, when a sick man is only able to buy oats, one cup at a time.

- Tom Green
As appears in Adbusters #74 November/December 2007

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Year o'Plenty . . . Sabbaths

May 12th began my exciting “Year of Sabbath.”

This last year has been especially intense in terms of my schedule – I found it difficult and disheartening trying to balance work, my university class, as well as my numerous volunteer commitments. I slowly let go of my large volunteer commitments one by one so that I would be able to walk my talk and live the simple life I have been talking about for so long.

My plan this year is to not take on any extreme volunteer commitments. I can push a broom, or drive people around, but nothing which entails leadership or responsibility for a group or event.

The purpose of this year is threefold. First, to rest. It feels like I have been on overdrive for the last number of years, ever since working with a small church plant. There have been some moments this past year where I thought I was going to crack, and it really wore on my soul. Rest is important.

Second, to explore. To take the careful and intentional time to explore myself in different ways – time to have new experiences, meaningful conversations, to invest in a number of different relationships. I am so blessed with wonderful people in my life, but it got to the point where I was not able to invest in them, and was not able to allow them to invest in me because things were so busy. I had to schedule in a weekly Sabbath – evening off – in my house, or else I would never be home. Even now I struggle with having time to be home and to be still. But the year just started . . . I’ll figure this out!

Finally, to allow God to move in ways which I have not allowed him to move before. Through nudgings, conversations, God-moments on portage or in the park. It is difficult to listen to God speaking through the wind when you are too busy to take a walk outside. I have not been leaving room for God to move in my life in unexpected ways. And I want to do that. I want to be His daughter and His servant. And both of those entail taking time to just be. So refreshing!

I look forward to being.

To continuing this wild journey . . .

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


What a life-changing week. I feel so refreshed, encouraged, challenged, confused, joyful.

Spent this week at SCM Canada’s yearly conference. Such a dynamic mix of people – people from all different backgrounds of faith, life choices, life un-choices, perspectives. The first few days I was unsure of how I really fit into this group – I struggled with feeling somewhat disconnected from the group due to my more evangelical-leaning background and passions. But by about the third day we were all so bonded together. It was truly a dynamic community. We laughed and cried together, expressed joys and pains. Supported one another, learned and were challenged by one another. I feel so blessed to have been part of this community. Conference was over on Sunday and I definitely feel the loss of not seeing these exceptional people anymore.

I am so happy. So many good things. So many surprising things. Surprising relationships, surprising friendships, surprising revelations about myself and how I fit into this world and how my faith fits in with Christ. Surprising questions (VERY surprising!) about who I am and where I fit and about my beliefs about a number of issues.

I am happy. Thanks muchly to everybody who impacted me this week . . . you know who you are. Thanks for your love and support and patience with my moments of ugliness. And thanks being stellar T-Rex’s and pirates. You're so cool.

Thanks, SCM-ers. I’ve been changed. And I think I like it.