Saturday, December 31, 2011

A year ago the earth was just about in the same position as it is right now in relation to the sun. But the planets, Poor Pluto, the asteroids, the comets, and even the space junk were configured totally differently. Our sun, bringing its satellites with it, revolved a bit more around the centre of our galaxy, the Milky Way, and the Milky Way danced its choreographed destiny with Andromeda and the other, somewhat near, galaxies. So really the earth is in a position today, at this writing that it has never been in before and never will be in again.

And of course our petty little measurement of 365 or so rotations that make up the one revolution are really pretty meaningless to any force of consequence in the universe , except of course to me, for I am the Centre of the Universe. Arrogance? Self Importance? Delusion? Not at all .... if the universe is infinite, if the power of the cosmos, the power of time are all infinite, then by default I am the centre. So are you. So is your friend, so is your enemy.

And if the power of God and God's majesty is infinite, I am at his / her centre. I find that very comforting. I can't explain God and I think that no religion can explain God. But I have no doubt that this power is there and on this last day of 2011 the calender, that is a very useful point of refection and gratitude that I can cling my mollusk like self to, and hang on for the ride.

I am thankful and grateful for so many things:
That I have a wife to share the journey with.
That I have a beagle and four cats that always add clarity
That I was able to share a friend's journey into cancer and share his joy at the words "Cancer Free"
That I was able to see another friend set sail on the MS Liberation
That I am employed with a moral and decent employer
That my cardiologist told me to "Get Out and Stay Out"
That I can huff and puff and pant as I try to run
That, despite my occasional misgivings, that we live in the most wonderful country on the planet and likely the best time in the history of the planet.
That I have old friends and new friends and Thursday Night Friends and Tuesday Night Friends and Running Friends
That my worries were mostly sown and nurtured by me and that I have the power to harvest and tie them in bundles and burn them at any time

My ride in 2011 was more than I deserved, it taught me, it nurtured me, it cradled me. I am thankful for all the grace that illuminated me and that I could bask in its warmth. I am in a spot now that I have never been in, and will never will be in again. That is comforting and that is frightening. But I am in nothing alone, and that is the best refection of all.

Friday, December 30, 2011

I wrote the first words in this blog the 31st of October of 2009; Halloween Eve. The first thing that I spoke about was the running that I had started in July of that year. I spoke of my plans to run the Resolution Run on December 31st, 2009, I spoke of the little chest pain that I incurred while running on the 21st of October and I spoke of the doctor’s appointment the following day that was either there by fluke (if you believe in that sort of thing) or by Divine Providence (if you believe in that sort of thing). The blog, for those friends that have muddled through it, know about the journey that reached the apex in the quintuple bypass and the wonderful and blessed journey that I was privileged to be able to trudge.
So what about the running? Well my intent now is to run six times a week and try and do a minimum of 6 kilometers per run. I have a good record of actually doing that. Up until a week or so ago, I was running outside, but with the lows hitting below minus 25 with highs below minus 15 , and wind and ice, I have joined the local gym and trying to do 6 to 7 K on the treadmill. The timer on the machine starts as soon as you start, so the warmup time sort of counts against my total time, but I am finding that it takes me close to an hour (well 57 minutes) to do 7 K on the machine. That is hardly anything to write to Running Magazine about and it seems to me that my treadmill time is slower than the outside time but I am happy that I am able to do this. I did three formal 5K runs this year, the Diefenbooker in Carp, the Army Run in Ottawa, and the Unity Run in Arnprior. In fact I was an instructor in the Unity Run. My goal, which I will state publicly here and now is to run 10K in the 2012 Diefenbooker. My PAC (Physical Activity Coordinator ) at my clinic has challenged me to run with her 6K in January, 7K in February , 8K in March – well you get the idea.
But I have enough friends that talk of One Day at a Time, so I will heed their advice. Tomorrow is New Year’s Eve and I have double booked to do two resolution runs of 5K – One in Ottawa and one in Arnprior. The weather is sort of erratic this weekend so I will likely stick to the Arnprior Run but I will report back on that.
As I type these words I have no idea if anyone reads them, save for my wife. The words are out there and the reason I do this is to put time in the freezer so to speak, and then have the ability to take it out, look at it, and then put it back in the deep freeze. One day I will be gone and one day the words will be gone but that concerns me not in the least. I am thankful to the entire earth and heavenly cosmos that creates a power greater than me that I can lean on and receive sustenance from, for as long as I need it, whenever I need it. That way, no matter how far back in the pack I am, or how alone I am on the treadmill in the gym, I never run alone. Another great present this sixth formal Day of Christmas.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

I got to apologize to a friend today. A couple of weeks ago I met this friend at a dinner, and being the great wit that I think I am, I made a joke at the friend's expense. He laughed (at least that is my recollection) and others laughed and I thought that I could chalk another one up in my repertoire. How wrong I was.
The friend mentioned to my wife, the other day, that I had hurt him, that he knew that I had not done so with malice but nonetheless I caused him pain, but he was reluctant to tell me for fear of upsetting me, but he decided to tell my wife as he had to "get it off his chest"
My initial reaction was self pity - I felt sorry for myself because I now felt badly. I was also suffering from disappointment in my failure to communicate my joke in being humorous as opposed to hurtful. I don't think that one can really do much with preliminary reactions that zap to the front lobe of your brain. But I have, in albeit a small way, learned not to act upon or react to these initial reactions.
So, first of all I had to dismiss feeling sorry for myself. I was in no way the victim here. Then my "failure to communicate" .... . This is not Cool Hand Luke, this is real life. If my mouth hurt someone, that is the way it is and no amount of rationalization or justification or edification changes that.
So what then remains? I uttered something hurtful .... end of story. I cannot, like Superman, fly counterclockwise (or is it clockwise?) to the rotation of the earth faster than the speed of light and go back in time and unsay what I said. The only option was to admit I was wrong and say sorry to the man, which I did. When we were wrong promptly admitted it, as some of my friends say.
So I made the apology and it was accepted and we are still friends. So why am I writing about this? It reminds me that I am far from perfect and make mistakes. It reminds me that when someone says something that I perceive as hurtful to me, that is is likely that the person met no malice. It reminds me that honesty is, if not always the best policy, it is a very good policy , and things are better on the table than under the rug. It reminds me that the three little words "I AM SORRY" are liberating, humbling, healing, and satisfying.
Most readers of my ramblings are doubtless more emotionally, spiritually, and intellectually more mature that I, so I do apologize for stating the obvious about apologies. But it was a good day of learning and maturing for me .... sort of a late present under the tree.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Tonight it is a frosty and clear night in the Ottawa Valley. After a balmy very early winter the ever so slightly lengthening days are being marked by snow and temperature dips to minus 20 C. I am sitting by the fireplace, toasty as a baby polar bear in his mother's embrace
Iistening to Bing Crosby singing carols. I know that by the 28th of December a lot of folks have taken down their trees and are in New Year's Eve mode but not I .... I cherish Christmas like a hard lemon drop and try to savour every drop of goodness. If Christmas is supposed to be about good will, charity, hope, faith, kindness, happiness , gratitude , cooperation , trust, joy, comfort, sharing, and just plain treating the world and every living thing on it as part of the whole cosmic being why the rush to recycle the tree? So I am having a Neo Citrin fortified with the juice of half a lemon hoping that the placebo effect will stop my sniffle in its tracks and let me fully enjoy not the 12 but the 365 Days of Christmas

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

It is two days after Christmas and maybe it is time to reconnect with this blog.
As a child I loved Christmas and I really loved it well into my thirties. Then it turned somewhat Blue for me but now it is my favorite time of year.
I love it because of the silence. Some folks rail about the commercialization: I read somewhere that if you had not snagged what you wanted by Black Friday, it would be too late by December. I am old enough to remember that Black Friday was the day that President Kennedy was slain but that was a long , long time ago. I have chosen to immunize myself against commercialization. (but in full disclosure I have to say that I did buy an iPad in early November)
So how did we spend Christmas? We is my wife, one beagle, four cats and me. Christmas Eve morning I made Apple Pancakes and then during the day a baked my Cast Iron Pan Bread. My wife works at the local church so she is busier than Santa on this day. She was back and forth but I made her some Spaghetti Bolognese before she was off at five in the afternoon. I also have to gloat (the only word that comes to mind) that I ran 6 kilometers as well, but more on that in future blogs.
I went to the second service of the evening at nine in the evening. The church looked like a church on Christmas Eve - resplendent in poinsettias and light. Although I am increasingly troubled by traditional organized religion there is nothing like the old carol Come All Ye Faithful to starve cynicism in mid bite. I found the net that was cast by the pastor to be exclusive of me, but that to was comforting as really the celebration of the evening is about three losers and outcasts, and in a strange way to be on the outside and looking in, wonderfully comforting on Christmas Eve.
We arrived home at just about 11 pm and lit the tree and the fireplace. That sounds quaint and traditional but of course all I did was flip two switches. We tuned the radio to CBC One and had our bread and two types of cheese. And that was it, a very simple and satisfying Christmas Supper. Oh, but one thing that is turning into a Christmas Eve Tradition for me - a small bag of Frito Lay Ruffles Potato Chips. That is the only time of year I eat them. So bread and cheese and chips while listening to CBC
We opened our presents - three cookbooks and a Heart and Stroke Lottery Calendar for me and a couple of scarves and a book for my wife. A cat calender for both of us. The beagle got some treats and the cats got new catnip toys.
Outside there was a white and pure shawl of snow on the entire country side - a true White Christmas. I felt love , serenity, and peace and my prayer is that everybody in the world could feel what I feel. As many times before my cup runneth over and Christmas truly is the zenith of God's Grace.